News Column

Patent Issued for Process for Monitoring the Consumptions of Franking Machines

January 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Deslandes, Thierry (Clamart, FR); Lecarpentier, Marc (Antony, FR), filed on March 3, 2003, was published online on January 7, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8626885, is Neopost Industrie (Bagneux, FR).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "It is known that it is indispensable to monitor the consumption of franking machines, both by the user, who must note daily the value of the reversible meter (also called invoicing index) in order to fill in a daily consumption statement generally addressed monthly to the Postal Service, and by an officer of this administration who must come in situ to check the veracity of this index with respect to the statements received.

"However, this statement becomes particularly delicate when managing a large set of franking machines.

"It is known, in particular by Patent EP 0 208 231, to eliminate these manual statements by connecting the franking machine, through the telephone network, to a specialized data-processing server managed by the Postal Service or the dealer of this franking machine. For example, the administration or the dealer being constantly informed of the indexes of the different machines, the user no longer has to fill in daily consumption statements and it is no longer necessary for an officer of this administration to come in situ to check the exactitude thereof. In addition, such permanent connection generally allows a remote 'refill' of the franking amount authorized.

"However, such a link to a server does not enable the user to have an overall or even local picture of the management of his set and, in particular, it is not possible for him to know, at a given instant, the state of the indexes of the different machines without reading them at the level of each machine as the state of the corresponding statistics. In addition, such an outside connection to a distant server is possible only with modern electronic franking machines. Now, more than 100,000 traditional electromechanical franking machines exist at the present time, on the French territory alone, which do not present this possibility of connection to a remote data-processing server.

"It is an essential object of the present invention to provide a process for monitoring the consumptions of franking machines, particularly adapted to the management of an assorted set of machines and which does not necessitate a direct link with a data-processing server. One purpose of the invention is to propose a process for monitoring the consumptions of a set of franking machines which is both supple and simple to use while allowing a coherent management for the user. Another purpose of the invention is to render secure the exchange of data with the Postal Service. A further object of the invention is to allow the Postal Service to track and monitor more precisely the franking operations effected by the user."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "These objects are attained by a process for monitoring the consumptions of a plurality of franking machines through a public communication network, at least one franking machine not being connected to this network, characterized in that a link with a management server is firstly established through the public network, by means of at least one supervision terminal independent of the at least one offline franking machine, in accordance with a determined protocol of communication, and then data are exchanged between the terminal and the server during which the user inputs at the supervision terminal a current invoicing index relative to the at least one off-line franking machine and in return receives a code of authorization to frank in order to validate the subsequent frankings of the at least one off-line franking machine. The protocol of communication used for establishing a link with the remote server is either a Videotex protocol, for example the teletel protocol, or a protocol of TCP/IP type.

"Solely by this dialogue of the user with a Videotext or Internet server of the Postal Service or of the dealer, without passing through the franking machine, it is thus possible to ensure a perfectly coherent and simple management of a set of assorted franking machines; in addition, a stricter surveillance of the postal traffic including a more strict monitoring of the index entered by the user is obtained, as well as an improved security of the data exchanges.

"The data exchange step comprises a step of inputting by the user of an identifier including at least one password or personal identification number and a step of display, at the supervision terminal, on the one hand, of a list of the printing heads associated with said user's plurality of franking machines, and, on the other hand, for each printing head, of a last invoicing index validated by the server.

"The code of authorization to frank advantageously comprises information relative to an authorized maximum amount of credit or consumption and period of franking. It is, obtained by calculation from, the current invoicing index and/or the serial number of a printing head, which provides an easy and automatic monitoring of the index introduced by the user, making it unnecessary for an officer of the postal service to come in situ for checking purposes.

"The invention is taught below by way of various specific exemplary embodiments explained in detail, and illustrated in the enclosed drawing figures."

For more information, see this patent: Deslandes, Thierry; Lecarpentier, Marc. Process for Monitoring the Consumptions of Franking Machines. U.S. Patent Number 8626885, filed March 3, 2003, and published online on January 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=21&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1047&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140107.PD.&OS=ISD/20140107&RS=ISD/20140107

Keywords for this news article include: Neopost Industrie, Information Technology, Information and Data Processing.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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