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Vacation alert sub-system for electronic mail clients Disclosure Number: IPCOM000244690D
Publication Date: 2016-Jan-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 36K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Electronic mail or email in short is an essential mode of communication in the present internet era. Arts and techniques exist to inform the sender of an email about unavailability of the email recipient during his planned absence, in the form of so called “out of office” response, sent automatically by the email hosting server of the recipient. Present proposal discloses a mechanism to automatically embed unavailability information of a user in his/her outgoing emails well in advance to the leave schedule, so that the recipients are kept reminded about his/her upcoming vacation plan.

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Vacation alert sub-system for electronic mail clients

It is a common practice for email users to enable an automatic responder program, widely known as "out of office responder" or "vacation responder", before going for a planned leave.

Typically these programmed agents send "out of office" emails with preset contents (with unavailability information e.g. important dates, details about alternate contact persons etc.) to all or a select list of people, in response to the emails they send to the person on leave. It is also very typical of a person making the people in his close personal and/or professional network aware of his/her upcoming unavailability sometime prior to the actual schedule of leave. However, it is not practical to assume that all of them will eventually remember those dates. In such occasions, it could be quite obvious that one or more email senders write an important message to the person on leave and expects a prompt reply, but receives an automated "out of office" response from the receiver's email server, conveying about his/her unavailability.

The problem could be better understood with the help of following example.

Joe is working on a project named ABC, with a team comprising hundreds of members. Like every collaborative work, project ABC also requires frequent communication amongst its members; and e-mail is one of the most preferred medium for that purpose.

Joe has a planned vacation of a week scheduled next month.

Joe sends out an e-mail to the team informing everyone about his upcoming vacation plan, two weeks prior to the schedule.

To make people aware of his unavailability during the holidays, Joe enables vacation responder in his e-mail client program.

Alex, who happens to work on the same project, sends an important e-mail to Joe during his vacation, and expects a prompt reply from him.

The vacation responder automatically generates a response e-mail, and sends back to Alex on behalf of Joe.

Alex gets to know about Joe's vacation from the auto-generated email, that he received.

Alex realizes that he has forgotten Joe's vacation plan though he (Joe) had sent an e-mail to the team sometime back informing the same.

This proposal intends solving the above mentioned problem by introducing a new system and technique called "vacation alert" that can be embodied as a new feature in email clients. Users of such clients will be provided with a new option which they can enable quite some time before their upcoming leave schedule. Under the hood, this will re...