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METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SERVICE-ENABLEMENT GATEWAY AND ITS SERVICE PORTAL
RELATED APPLICATIONS 5
This is a continuation of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/870,084, filed May 30, 2001 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,920, 615, entitled "Method and System for Service-Enablement Gateway and its Service Portal," which claims benefit from 10 U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/250,037 filed on Nov. 29, 2000, entitled "Software Architecture using OSGI Service, J2EE and an API to Deliver Data Services: A Case Study", and is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/870,143, filed May 30, 2001, entitled "Method and Sys- 15 tern for Partitioned Service-Enablement Gateway with Utility and Consumer Services."
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates in general to data processing, and, more particularly, to a method and system for a service enablement gateway with a service portal.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 25
As computers have grown increasingly important in today's society, the Internet has been increasingly used to deliver information and services to customer premises. Such services include purchasing merchandise, communication 30 via email, voice and video, and downloading and uploading of data. Access to these services typically requires a computer accessing the Internet via a telephone-line connection.
Currently, automatically billing for services provided to a 35 remote user is cumbersome and unreliable. Also, existing services provide minimal support for controlling specific devices present in a particular premises. For example, no control or customization of telephony features in the premises is possible.
Other embodiments, technical advantages, features, and aspects will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art from 45 the following figures, descriptions, and claims.
A method and system for dynamic service support is presented. A portal-page service and an interface bundle are installed at the gateway. A customer service at the gateway, based on the interface bundle, is installed at the gateway. The 50 portal-page service searches for the customer service and generates a user interface for the customer service based on the customer service. The portal-page service generates a portal-page based on the user interface and the portal page service. 55
The present invention provides numerous technical advantages. Various aspects of the present invention may have all, some or none of these advantages. One such technical advantage is the capability for a gateway to provide services without the use of a personal computer and with zero-administration 60 by the user. Another such technical advantage is the provision and control of service user-interfaces with no prior knowledge of the service in a standard way according to the application programmer interface. Another such technical advantage is the ability for multiple users from a single location to 65 access the gateway simultaneously. Another such technical advantage is the facilitation of revision and maintenance of
the portal service over the network through its use of the model-view-controller design pattern.
One such technical advantage is the capability for delivery of services in a zero-administration, always-on gateway that use a remote server for all or a portion of their functionality and persistence, and an API to dictate how they communicate with each other. Also a portal utility service provides and controls consumer service user-interfaces with substantially no prior knowledge of the consumer services in the gateway by using an API that dictates how the portal service finds services and displays their user-interfaces. The portal utility service also provides for access of multiple users from a location, and is designed to facilitate maintenance and revision.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention is best understood from the detailed description which follows, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary connected site system according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating details of a customer location and a gateway used in association with the connected site system according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2A is a block diagram illustrating one or more services provided by bundles associated with the gateway according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for interacting with a user interface to a user associated with the customer location according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3A is a flowchart illustrating further details of a method of operation of a portal service associated with the gateway according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3B is a flow illustrating further details of the operation of the portal service according to one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for automatically provisioning the services to the gateway according to the teachings one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for accounting for use by the users for the use of the services and the bundles according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for providing customized gateways using a profile service according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for authenticating and authorizing the users who wish to use the gateway, the bundles and/or the services according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating an exemplary method for providing remote logging of events occurring at the gateway according to the teachings of one embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
High speed connections to the Internet are becoming more andmore commonintoday's society. Inaddition, networks of
computers are becoming increasingly important to both home and business users. The increasingly ease of use and commonality of high-speed Internet connections and computer networks is leading to a convergence between traditional electronic devices, such as appliances, environmental con- 5 trols, lamps, and audio equipment, and computers.
A centralized connection and distribution point may be used to simplify management and control of devices and services available to a home or business and the Internet. An example is presented illustrating the use of a gateway to 10 provide this centralized connection and distribution point in the context of a premises. The exemplary premises comprises a lamp and a computer, and a human user of both the lamp and the computer.
Traditionally, the user enters the premises and turns on the 15 lamp. The user may then turn on the computer, connect to the Internet with an analog modem and then use the Internet.
At some point, the user may decide that the user needs faster access to the Internet and connect a relatively highspeed Internet connection to the computer. For example, the 20 user may purchase a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) modem or a cable modem.
The user may also decide that the user is tired of having to manually turn on the lamp every day. Thus, the user installs a home automation system which turns the lamp on automati- 25 cally when the user arrives at the premises. For example, the user could wire the premises for a home automation system, use a home automation system which communicates over existing infrastructure, such as power lines, or use a wireless home automation system. The user decides that the user likes 30 the home automation system and adds a thermostat to the home automation system. For example, a wireless communication protocol, such as the Bluetooth protocol, may be used to connect the thermostat to the home automation system. The user could also choose to use multiple home automation 35 systems, such as a wireless system and a wireline system.
Now when the user enters the premises, the lamp turns on automatically and the thermostat automatically changes to the correct temperature. The user may then decide to do online stock trading so the user goes on the Internet and finds 40 a stock trading program. The user then retrieves the stock trading program from the Internet, installs the program and signs up for stock trading services from an online trading service. For example, the user may access a subscription web page, enter information about the user and receive a user 45 name and password from the online trading service.
The increased convenience and automation provided by the computer and the home automation system lack the ability to share information and use common control equipment. A gateway and a client device (such as a web pad) to control the 50 gateway replaces or augments the computer and provides a means of controlling the home automation system using a network on the premises and/or the Internet. The gateway provides increased convenience and automation and supports control and use of the home automation system. New or 55 upgraded software may also be automatically installed from the network on the gateway.
The user may use the gateway to access and control the home automation system in conjunction with and/or instead of using the control system supplied with the home automa- 60 tion system. The gateway may also provide a more familiar user interface to the user as opposed to the control system associated with the home automation system. In addition, the relatively high-speed Internet connection may now be used with the home automation system to allow, for example, the 65 user to access and control the home automation system from an external site, such as the office.
Now when the user is leaving work, the user can tell the home automation system to turn on the light at a particular time and tell the computer to begin downloading and printing various news items of interest to the user. While the user is coming home from work, the gateway may be informed that an online audio entertainment program is available. The gateway may then install the online audio entertainment program at the gateway, provide an interface for using the program on the computer and wait for the user to approve signing up for the online audio entertainment's monthly subscription service.
When the user arrives at the premises, the lamp has been turned on and the user sits down at the computer. Waiting for the user at the web pad or other client device is the option for the user to approve or disapprove signing up for the online audio entertainment service. If the user approves signing up for the online audio entertainment, the gateway may retrieve appropriate personal information associated with the user and stored at the gateway and sign-up the user for service. The gateway may also support billing the user for the online audio entertainment. The gateway has allowed the user to sign-up for the online audio entertainment service by simply approving signing-up for the service. Thus, the user is freed from having to find an audio entertainment program and manually signing-up for service.
Similar to computers, the expandability of the gateway provides opportunities for a malicious person to introduce a virus or other detrimental software to the gateway. The ability of the gateway to control appliances, such as microwaves, TVs and thermostats, provides numerous possibilities for a malicious person or a virus.
FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a connected premises system 10. System 10 comprises a customer location 12, a network 14, a portal server 16, an origin server 18, a public switched telephone network (PSTN) 20 and one or more communications links 22.
Customer location 12 houses a gateway 30, a premises network 32, one or more devices 34, one or more client devices 35 and one or more users 36. Client devices 35 and users 36 may also be located outside the customer's physical location 12 and access the gateway 30 via the network 14. Customer location 12 comprises a location associated with a subscriber to system 10. For example, customer location 12 may comprise a house, an apartment, a collection of multipledwelling units or a business.
Gateway 30 comprises hardware and/or software for managing communication between devices 34, origin server 18 and portal server 16. Gateway 30 is operable to communicate over premises network 32, network 14 and/or PSTN 20.
Premises network 32 comprises one or more networking technologies operable to communicate with one or more devices 34 and gateway 30. More specifically, premises network 32 may comprise suitable wireless and/or wireline network systems either alone or in suitable combination. Premises network 32 is described in more detail in association with FIG. 2.
Devices 34 comprise electronic and/or mechanical devices operable to communicate using premises network 32. For example, devices 34 may comprise phones, appliances, light switches, televisions, audio equipment, thermostats, and other devices operable to communicate using premises network 32. Devices 34 may use wireless and/or wireline technologies to communicate with premises network 32. Client devices 35 may comprise web-pads, personal digital assistants (PDAs) computers and other electronic devices capable of displaying a user interface and Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) communication using premises network 32. Cus