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Número de publicaciónWO2000031952 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudPCT/IL1998/000573
Fecha de publicación2 Jun 2000
Fecha de presentación24 Nov 1998
Fecha de prioridad24 Nov 1998
Número de publicaciónPCT/1998/573, PCT/IL/1998/000573, PCT/IL/1998/00573, PCT/IL/98/000573, PCT/IL/98/00573, PCT/IL1998/000573, PCT/IL1998/00573, PCT/IL1998000573, PCT/IL199800573, PCT/IL98/000573, PCT/IL98/00573, PCT/IL98000573, PCT/IL9800573, WO 0031952 A1, WO 0031952A1, WO 2000/031952 A1, WO 2000031952 A1, WO 2000031952A1, WO-A1-0031952, WO-A1-2000031952, WO0031952 A1, WO0031952A1, WO2000/031952A1, WO2000031952 A1, WO2000031952A1
InventoresBenyamin Magen, Barry Itzhak
SolicitanteHousetech Automation & Control Ltd.
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos:  Patentscope, Espacenet
Silent alert system
WO 2000031952 A1
Resumen
An inaudible alert system, comprising: a connection to a communication line, which line carries, at times, an audible-alert signal which causes a communications device connected to the line to sound an audible alert; and a filter which removes the audible-alert signal from the communications line.
Reclamaciones  (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)
1. An inaudible alert system, comprising: a connection to a communication line, which line carries, at times, an audible-alert signal which causes a communications device connected to the line to sound an audible alert; and a filter which removes the audible-alert signal from the communications line.
2. A system according to claim 1, comprising a transmitter which sends an excitation signal to a remote unit, wherein the remote unit comprises a non-audible alert generator, which generator is excited by the excitation signal.
3. A system according to claim 2, wherein said transmitter selectively sends said excitation signal responsive to an identification of a source of a message.
4. A system according to claim 3, wherein said identification of a source comprises a caller ID identification of a telephone call.
5. A system according to any of claims 1-4, wherein said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to an identification of a source of a message.
6. A system according to any of claims 1-5, wherein said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to a current time of day.
7. A system according to any of claims 1-6, wherein said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to a current date.
8. A system according to any of claims 1-7, wherein said connection comprises an electromagnetic coupling to said communication line.
9. A system according to any of claims 1-8, wherein said filter does not substantially affect the use of said line, beyond removing said audible alert signal.
10. An inaudible-alert system, comprising: a connection to a communication line, which line carries signals which indicate incoming messages and which line is connected to a communication device, wherein said communication device comprises an audio communication device; a transmitter which sends an excitation signal to a remote unit, wherein the remote unit comprises a non-audible alert generator, which generates a non-audible alert responsive to said signal; and control circuitry which selectively sends the excitation signal responsive to an identification of an incoming message source.
11. A system according to claim 10, wherein said control circuitry selectively sends an excitation signal to said communication device.
12. A system according to claim 10 or claim 11, comprising a filter which removes the message indicating signals from the communications line.
13. A system according to any of claims 2-4 or 10-12, wherein said non-audible alert comprises a vibration.
14. A system according to any of claims 1-13, wherein said system comprises connections to a plurality of communication lines.
15. A system according to claim 14, wherein said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of incoming telephone lines.
16. A system according to claim 14 or claim 15, wherein said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of incoming telephone extension lines from a PBX.
17. A system according to any of claims 14- 16, wherein said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of outgoing telephone extension lines.
18. A system according to any of claims 14-17, wherein said plurality of communication lines are connected to a second plurality of message sources.
19. A system according to any of claims 1-18, wherein said system comprises a connection to a burglar alarm.
20. A system according to any of claims 1-19, wherein said communication line comprises a telephone line.
21. A system according to any of claims 1-20, wherein said communication line comprises an intercom line.
22. A system according to any of claims 1-21, wherein said system is programmed using said communication device.
23. A system according to any of claims 1-22, wherein said communication device comprises a PBX.
Descripción  (El texto procesado por OCR puede contener errores)

SILENT ALERT SYSTEM FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates in general to the field of personal communication devices and in particular to alerting users of incoming telephone calls using non audible means. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A telephone ring is an audible tone that notifies a user of an incoming telephone call. In case the telephone ring is not heard, the call and the information it carries may be lost for ever. Conversely, if a ring is sounded, all persons within audio range will know that a call arrived. Sometimes a person may not want a telephone ring to be heard either by themselves or by other people near the telephone. For example, when a person expects a telephone call at a time that other people are asleep or when a person expects a telephone call he wants to keep secret and/or private. In some cases, a person may not hear a telephone ring. Hearing impaired people have a particular problem: flashing lights which may notify them of an incoming telephone call become useless when these people are asleep. Other situations where a telephone ring is inaudible include: a) situations where the audible tone is not detectable by a person because of physical distance and/or low signal-to- noise ratio; b) situations where a telephone ring is not heard because a person is totally immersed in some occupation or activity.

US patent 4,853,674 to M. Z. Kiss, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a system for inaudibly signaling hearing impaired persons of the occurrence of monitored events such as an audible event (e.g. a baby crying), a telephone ring, a switch closure, or a transducer output.

US patent 4,409,439 to B. I. Gamble, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a controllable, alternative-alerting device which is connected to a telephone line and which provides user-controllable notifications. When not set for a specific function, the device provides a group of chimes responsive to each incoming ring signal. The device can be set to be silent under certain electronically predetermined conditions.

US patent 5,317,632 to D. W. Ellison, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a timed telephone silencer which selectively silencing a telephone for a user-determined interval when the user wishes not to be disturbed by telephone calls.

PCT publication WO 96/26580 of P. T. Costigan, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, describes a telecommunications system which allows a conventional telecommunications device such as a radio pager, a cellular telephone or a portable computer equipped with a radio modem, to deliver information regarding alarms and events occurring in the environment. This is accomplished while still allowing the telecommunication device to operate as originally designed and support telecommunication with people. All the above mentioned publications are incorporated herein by reference.

In the claims and specification of the present application each of the verbs, "comprise", contain and "include" and conjugates thereof are used to convey that the object or objects of the verb are not necessarily a listing of all the components, elements or parts of the subject or subjects of the verb.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of some preferred embodiments of the present invention is to provide apparatus for alerting a user, which cannot and/or does not want to hear an audible signal, of an incoming communications. Incoming communications include, for example, cellular telephone calls, satellite telephone calls, telephone calls, e-mail messages, facsimile messages, intercom calls and/or pager calls. Preferably, the user is notified by inaudible means.

As used herein, a communication line comprises a physical line, for example a wire, along which signals are transmitted from one location to another location. In some cases this communication line may be internal to a device. For example, a cell-phone docking station, which transmits incoming signals to a head set uses a communication line to connect the cell phone and the telephone handset. In another example, a pager docking station which silently receives signals when a pager is paged, transmits alert signals to a second device, for example a telephone or an alert circuit, using a communication line. In another example, a telephone call is transmitted from a telephone interchange to a PBX and from PBX to a handset, over a telephone line.

It should be noted that in some cases the communication line may not be actually connected on both sides, for example, a telephone line may not have a telephone connected to it.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the apparatus comprises a base unit which is connected to a communication line and a remote alerting unit. At an incoming call, the base unit excites the remote unit which notifies the user, of the call, by inaudible means.

An aspect of some preferred embodiments of the present invention relates to identifying an incoming call prior to alerting a user by naudible means. Preferably, the type of alerting and/or the user alerted are dependent on the identification of the call.

An aspect of some preferred embodiments of the present invention relates to suppressing an audible alert (such as a telephone ring) while the user is notified by inaudible means. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the base unit filters a "ring" signal off the communication line. Alternatively or additionally, the ring is stopped after a few rings. Additionally or alternatively, the ring is "allowed" after a certain period of non-response to an inaudible alert. Alternatively and or additionally, some calls may force a ring, preferably different from the usual ring, in addition to or instead the inaudible alert signal. Possibly the ring is on a different telephone extension.

An aspect of some preferred embodiments of the present invention relates to alerting a plurality of users, who use the same communication device. Two or more users may be simultaneously alerted. Additionally or alternatively, a call identification or another logic may be used to select the user to be alerted. Preferably, each user is notified by exciting a separate remote unit. More preferably, a single base unit connected to a communication line excites each one of the remote units. Alternatively and or additionally, the remote units may be related to communication devices connected in parallel (extensions) to a single PBX/PABX (hereafter "PBX") and/or to individual lines inside a building. In some preferred embodiments of the invention the alert system is integrated with a PBX. Alternatively or additionally, the alert system is connected to lines going into the PBX (from outside) or to lines (of extensions) which exit the PBX.

An aspect of some preferred embodiments of the invention relates to integrating a plurality of alerts sources in a single alert device, preferably a silent alert device, preferably a wireless alert device. Some of the alert sources may permanently reside in a single area, for example, land-lines and a burglar alarm for a residence. Others of the alerts sources may be mobile sources, for example, cellular telephones. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the mobile sources are docket, so they are connected to a silent alert system. Alternatively or additionally, the alert system automatically detects their presence in the area and responds when they generate an alert, for example blanket detection of cellular phones and/or transmissions to and/or from a locally located cellular phone. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the alert sources include one or more of, one or more land telephone lines, one or more security systems, for example a burglar alarm and/or a video surveillance system, where the security system may generate a plurality of different alerts for different situations, one or more intercoms, one or more timers, for example kitchen timers and/or one or more baby movement and/or breathing sensors.

There is thus provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, an inaudible alert system, comprising: a connection to a communication line, which line carries, at times, an audible-alert signal which causes a communications device connected to the line to sound an audible alert; and a filter which removes the audible-alert signal from the communications line. Preferably, the system comprises a transmitter which sends an excitation signal to a remote unit, wherein the remote unit comprises a non-audible alert generator, which generator is excited by the excitation signal. Preferably, said transmitter selectively sends said excitation signal responsive to an identification of a source of a message. Preferably, said identification of a source comprises a caller ID identification of a telephone call. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to an identification of a source of a message. Alternatively or additionally, said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to a current time of day. Alternatively or additionally, said filter selectively removes said signal, responsive to a current date. Alternatively or additionally, said connection comprises an electromagnetic coupling to said communication line. Alternatively or additionally, said filter does not substantially affect the use of said line, beyond removing said audible alert signal.

There is also provided in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, an inaudible-alert system, comprising: a connection to a communication line, which line carries signals which indicate incoming messages and which line is connected to a communication device, wherein said communication device comprises an audio communication device; a transmitter which sends an excitation signal to a remote unit, wherein the remote unit comprises a non-audible alert generator, which generates a non-audible alert responsive to said signal; and control circuitry which selectively sends the excitation signal responsive to an identification of an incoming message source.

Preferably, said control circuitry selectively sends an excitation signal to said communication device. Alternatively or additionally, the system comprises a filter which removes the message indicating signals from the communications line. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, said system comprises connections to a plurality of communication lines. Preferably, said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of incoming telephone lines. Alternatively or additionally, said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of incoming telephone extension lines from a PBX.

Alternatively or additionally, wherein said plurality of communication lines comprise a plurality of outgoing telephone extension lines. Alternatively or additionally, said plurality of communication lines are connected to a second plurality of message sources.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, said system comprises a connection to a burglar alarm. Alternatively or additionally, said communication line comprises a telephone line. Alternatively or additionally, said communication line comprises an intercom line.

Alternatively or additionally, said system is programmed using said communication device.

Alternatively or additionally, said communication device comprises a PBX.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, said non-audible alert comprises a vibration. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

The invention will be more clearly understood by reference to the following description of preferred embodiments thereof read in conjunction with the accompanying figures. Identical structures, elements or parts that appear in more than one of the figures are labeled with a same or similar numeral in all the figures in which they appear. Fig. 1 shows a block diagram of an inaudible alert system in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 shows a block diagram of an inaudible alert system having a plurality of remote units operated by a single base unit, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention; Fig. 3 shows a block diagram of an inaudible alert system connected having a plurality of remote units and being connected to a plurality of communication extensions, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention; and

Fig. 4 shows a block diagram of an inaudible alert system having a plurality of remote units and being connected to a plurality of communication lines, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Fig. 1 is a block diagram of an inaudible call alert system 20, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. System 20 detects incoming calls on a communication line 26, via a base unit 22 connected to line 26, and excites at least one remote unit 24 to generate an inaudible alarm for a jecipient of the call. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the communication line is a telephone. However, system 20 may be additionally or alternatively configured to connect to other types of communication devices and detect various types of communications, for example, facsimiles, cellular calls, satellite calls, e-mail, burglar alarms, pagers and/or alerts on industrial processes. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, one or more of such communication lines are connected into base unit 22. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base unit 22 includes a docking station, for example for a cellular telephone, a two-way radio and/or a pager, to detect incoming calls on mobile communication devices. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base unit 22 is connected in-between a wall socket 28 and a communication device 32 (e.g., a telephone). Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 may be connected to a socket 28 in parallel to communication device 32. Preferably, base unit 22 is installed by simply plugging it in to socket 28. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 is connected in series with device 32, being activated by an output of device 32, for example if device 32 is a computer (e.g., for Internet telephony). Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 is connected to- and/or integrated with- a PBX and may require a more complex installation. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 may be connected to a plurality of lines entering a PBX and or a plurality of extensions exiting a PBX. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base unit is connected to an existing communication line by electro-magnetic coupling. An alert on the line is sensed using the coupling as a magnetic filed sensor. A signal on the line is preferably canceled by activating the coupler with a voltage sufficient to induce a signal having substantially an opposite polarity (and same phase) as the alert signal, thereby canceling the alert signal.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base unit 22 does not interfere with data and/or voice communications on line 26. However, In a preferred embodiment of the invention, base unit 22 is operable to cancel an audio signal which is generated by device 32, for example, a telephone ring. Where base unit 22 is connected between line 26 and device 32, unit 22 can simply stop any "ring" signal from passing on. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 filters out signals characteristic of ring signals (e.g., high voltage in analog telephone lines) while allowing other signals to pass undisturbed. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 injects a canceling voltage into the communication line, to cancel ring signals. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 picks up the call immediately, preferably before device 32 responds by ringing. Preferably, an IVR and/or a simpler message is used to request a caller to remain on hold until the recipient of the call is alerted. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 and/or a PBX with which it is connected, generate a jalse ring tone to the caller. In one example, the

PBX generates a ring tone to the caller and to the device and base unit 22 silences to ring signal to the extension telephone. In another example, the PBX generates the false ring tone at a request from base unit 22, for example, while it is generating a non-audible alert at the remote unit. In another example, base unit 22 masquerades as a telephone, by generating a ring tone to the caller. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 may generate an artificial ring signal for device 32, in addition to or instead of activating remote unit 24. Additionally or alternatively, base unit 22 (and/or remote unit 24) may include a loud-speaker (not shown) to generate an audible message, possible using synthesized speech. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each one of a plurality of remote units 24 are programmed to work with a single base unit 20. Preferably, this specificity may be modified, in case a base unit and/or a remote unit need to be replaced.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, system 20 has an "ON" mode and an "OFF" mode, wherein in the "ON" mode remote unit 24 is excited when an incoming call is detected. Preferably, system 20 is by default in an "ON" mode. Alternatively or additionally, more complex operation modes may be defined, as described below.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the inaudible alert comprises a vibration of a vibrator coupled to the user of remote unit 24. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the vibration is generated using a piezoelectric material. Alternatively or additionally, the vibration is generated using an electric motor. Alternatively or additionally, the vibration is generated using a solenoid. Alternatively or additionally, an inaudible alert may include a flashing light, a dimming of nearby lights and/or an electric shock, preferably a small one. Alternatively or additionally, remote unit 24 may also generate an audible alert signal, preferably low-level.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, system 20 may be configured, programmed and/or operated by commands introduced to base unit 22. These commands may be introduced through the base unit itself, for example by using one or more push buttons 38 on base unit 22. Alternatively or additionally, system 22 may be programmed via a remote unit 24. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 may include a connection to a computer, which can perform the programming using an application software. Alternatively or additionally, device 32 (e.g. a telephone) which is connected to base unit 22 may be used to program system 20, for example using push buttons or using voice commands. Alternatively or additionally, a telephone may be integrated with base unit 22, and preferably used for programming. A telephone may be used to program the base unit using speech commands. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 provides an IVR. Alternatively or additionally, the responses of base unit 22 comprise synthesized speech.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the programming includes communication parameters such as intensity, frequency spectra and/or code words, which may be set and/or modified. Alternatively or additionally, the programming includes various response logics (described below). Alternatively or additionally, the programming includes an association of remote units with base units.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a computer connection may be used by system 20 to generate and print reports, for example statistics on alerts, response times to alerts and non-answer alerts. Preferably, the data is downloaded in a standard format, for example "DBase" so that any report may be generated using suitable software. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 includes a modem, for connection from a remote location, using one of the "alert lines" preferably a telephone line or a pager connection. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the remote connection is used to download data and/or reports. Alternatively or additionally, the remote connection is used to upload data and/or programming to the base unit.

The communication between base unit 22 and remote unit 24, of a system 20 is preferably RF. However, other types of remote communications may be used, including: RF, microwave, automatic paging protocols, localized cellular telephones (for example as used in large offices), localized pagers (for example as used in some hospitals), optical and/or ultrasound. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, one or more signal transceivers may be provided so that remote unit 24 can be operated at a distance from base unit 22. Alternatively or additionally, a plurality of base units 22 may be provided. For example, in a system 20 installed in a medical environment (an hospital), ultrasound communication may be adopted in order not to perturb the operation of pace makers. Preferably, system 20, is configured in accordance with the environment in which it operates so that its operation does not interfere with voice and/or data transmission devices operating in its vicinity.

In a basic system 20, base unit 22 comprises a transmitter 34 and remote unit 24 comprises a receiver 48. When an incoming calls arrives at base unit 22 it can send a single or a continuous exciting signal to remote unit 24, which responds by alerting a user. However, for more general operational uses, remote unit 24 preferably comprises a transmitter 44 and base unit 22 comprises a receiver 46. In one example, remote unit 24 can signal base unit 22 when the alert is acknowledged by a user (e.g., by pressing a control on the remote unit). Alternatively or additionally, remote unit 24 may be used to page back to base unit 22, for example a doctor to his secretary, in a hospital. Alternatively or additionally, remote unit 24 can be used to communicate with a different base station.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, system 20 monitors the existence of a communications link between base unit 22 and remote unit 24. Preferably, remote unit 24 periodically sends an "I am alive" signal to base unit 22. Alternatively or additionally, base unit 22 sends such a signal to remote unit 24. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, when remote unit 24 does not detect the periodic signal (or an acknowledgment), the remote unit displays a special message, preferably on a screen 25. Alternatively or additionally, an audio signal or message is generated. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, when such a communication link is not detected by base unit 22, the unit automatically changes an operational mode, for example from "inaudible alert" to "ring" or "page", so that the incoming call is not lost.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, system 20 responds differently to different incoming calls. The response may be dependent on one or more of: a) operational mode of system 20; b) time of day; c) identification of the incoming calls, in a PBX or using "caller ID" features; d) identification of an incoming line, for example in a multi-ring system which rings differently based on the telephone number dialed; e) call distribution and/or number for a single telephone number or for several telephone numbers; f) a number of rings in a current and/or previous call; g) a filter set at remote unit 24, by the user, for example, a user may disable a particular number, set of numbers or all numbers; h) whether the call is answered by a user; and/or i) a number of non-responded to and or inaudibly alerted calls.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, system 20 includes a list of telephone numbers which deserve a special treatment, for example, the number of an emergency room in a hospital (for a doctor). Preferably, the list can be entered, displayed and/or modified as described above with respect to programming. The display function and/or programming and/or reporting preferably use a display 36 on base unit 22. However, the display may be by synthesized speech or by sending messages to be displayed on a device 32 which includes a display. In some embodiments of the invention, an incoming call is picked up immediately by base unit 22 (to prevent device 32 from ringing). Preferably, a "please hold" message is presented to the caller. Alternatively or additionally, the user is provided with an IVR (interactive voice response) menu, so that the caller can even force ringing of device 32, in some cases and/or leave a message. If remote unit 24 is out of range, the remote unit is preferably notified of the waiting message when it comes in range. In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, base unit 22, may, preferably automatically, undertake some specific actions subsequent to its notifying remote unit 24. For example, if an incoming call is still not received by a user at the end of a predetermined number of inaudible alerts, base unit 22 may transfer the call to another user. Alternatively, base unit 22, may reset the ring of communication device 32, in order to enable other users to receive the call.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention, a user which is notified of an incoming call, for example by an inaudible means, can control system 20 to handle the call. For example, the user may forward the call to another user or instruct system 20 to accept a message from the caller. Alternatively or additionally, when a user receives an alert, pressing a control on remote unit 24 stops the inaudible alert and/or may signal the base unit that the call is answered, will be answered or will not be answered (based on the control). In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a suitable message will be voiced to the caller. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, remote unit 24 may also serve as a wireless telephone console, at least for receiving messages. Alternatively or additionally, if a handset on device 32 is lifted, the alert may stop and/or may change to an alert which indicates to a user that somebody is fielding the call. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, device 32 cannot dial out while an alert is in progress. Alternatively or additionally, device 32 may be used to cancel an alert.

In some preferred embodiments of the present invention system 20 supports a variety of dialing protocols, such as ISDN Subaddressing, defined in presently known international regulations.

Reference is now made to Fig. 2 which schematically shows a call alert system 20, able to excite a plurality of remote units 24. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, all the remote units utilize a single address. Alternatively or additionally, each one of the remote units may be selectively excited.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each remote unit 24 utilizes a different frequency band. Alternatively or additionally, each remote unit utilizes a different time slice.

Alternatively or additionally, each remote unit is excited using a different code sequence.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the remote unit is selected responsive to a caller identification. Alternatively or additionally, the remote unit is selected utilizing an IVR.

Alternatively or additionally, the selection of remote units may be based on a scheduling scheme. For example, in a hospital ready room having a single telephone line but several sleeping physicians, a sleeping physician may be alerted based on a round robin schedule and or based on the time s/he last performed a procedure. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, each remote unit 24 may be used to program base unit 22, associate a remote unit 24 with a particular base unit 22, to transfer alerts between them and/or upload data to or download data from, the base unit (for example stock quotes received by a pager docketed to the base unit). In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a user can log in on a remote unit. In one example, the remote unit may be transferred between physicians, each having different specialties. When the user receives the remote unit, he identifies himself, thereby providing information for system 20 to decide which remote unit 24 to alert. Alternatively or additionally, system 20 may be linked to a hospital management system, for example one used to set up doctor's schedules. Fig. 3 illustrates a configuration in which a base station 22 is connected to a plurality of communication devices 32, for example a plurality of telephone extensions. Such a configuration may be utilized in a digital telephone network, where a plurality of telephones can share a single data line. In the Fig., a plurality of incoming communication lines 26 are shown, for example a plurality of telephone lines. Alternatively, there is only a single communication line 26. The word incoming is used in the sense of where a message originates for the purpose of alerting the user, since during a telephone conversation, data can flow both ways.

Fig. 4 illustrates a configuration in which a base unit 22 is integrated with a PBX 42. The integration may be physical, for example, as a card in a PBX. Alternatively, the integration may be virtual, for example, with base unit 22 intercepting all the extensions of PBX 42. Each of the connected communication devices preferably utilizes an individual line 27. However, a single line 27, may, in some telephone network configurations, support a plurality of communication devices. In some embodiments, a plurality of communication lines connect PBX 42 and base unit 22, for example, one line for each extension which uses system 20. It is noted that by intercepting the extensions, system 20 can better identify a telephone recipient, than by listing in on shared incoming telephone lines.

Alternatively or additionally, a data line (not shown) may be used for base unit 22 to command PBX 42, for example, to generate a ring on an incoming telephone line. Alternatively or additionally, such a data line may be used to transmit data and/or commands from PBX 42 to remote unit 22, for example, to request an inaudible alarm.

Alternatively or additionally, a single base unit 22 may be connected to a plurality of incoming lines 26. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the identification of which line the call came in on may be used to assist in a decision logic of which remote unit to alert. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, remote unit 24, comprises a wrist strap, so that it may be wrist worn like a watch. Alternatively, remote unit 24 may comprise a chain, so that it hangs around a neck. Alternatively or additionally, remote unit 24 may include a belt clip and/or a pocket clip. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, remote unit 24 is enclosed in a small water tight box and is preferably resistant to various occupational hazards, such as water, solvents and/or being dropped. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, remote unit 24, is designed to fit fashion and/or taste requirements of different social and/or socioeconomic groups such as gender, age, culture, etc. In the embodiments according to the present invention exemplified by the above described configurations, base unit 22, and/or remote unit 24 will be power fed preferably, from mains. Alternatively, base unit 22 and/or remote unit 24, may be power fed from a battery, preferably rechargeable (not shown in the figures).

While the invention has been described with reference to certain preferred embodiments, various modifications will be readily apparent to and may be readily accomplished by persons skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the above teachings. Therefore, it is understood that the invention may be practiced other than as specifically described herein without departing from the scope of the following claims:

Citas de patentes
Patente citada Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
GB2207834A * Título no disponible
US5140626 *21 Jun 199018 Ago 1992Andrew D. OryPaging system for establishing telephone connection between calling party and paged party
US5388150 *28 Jul 19927 Feb 1995Schneyer; RobinAutomatic incoming telephone call identification and disposition system
US5812648 *20 Feb 199622 Sep 1998Micron Technology, Inc.Telephone ringer control device
US5892817 *10 Jul 19956 Abr 1999Will; Craig AlexanderWireless system for alerting individual to incoming telephone call
Clasificaciones
Clasificación internacionalH04M11/02
Clasificación cooperativaH04M11/022
Clasificación europeaH04M11/02A
Eventos legales
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