No assignee for this patent application has been made.
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates generally to electronic device diagnostics and, more particularly, to a method and apparatus for initiating diagnostic functions on a networked electronic device and providing diagnostic information verbally.
"In recent years, the use of Voice over Internet Protocol ('VoIP') services has increased dramatically. As VoIP systems typically interface with traditional PSTN, it is now well established that such systems allow for transparent telephone communications worldwide. One common way in which VoIP systems are configured is through the use of an analog telephone adapter ('ATA'), which is connected to and accesses the Internet either directly or through a computer and which includes a conventional phone jack to allow a traditional phone to be connected and operate in a manner which on the surface is very similar to traditional PSTN.
"A problem which still exists, however, is that due to the various functionality being used or provided by an ATA at a given time, if an ATA is not functioning properly, it can be difficult to determine what aspect of the ATA is failing. This creates a situation where even the most basic errors, having very simple fixes, are unable to be easily and quickly identified by an end user and thus require the end user. For any issue causing an interruption or disruption in ATA function, the end user will typically have to contact service representatives and waste time waiting to speak with such a representative. And such is the best case because in some scenarios, when the ATA goes out, the end user's ability to contact a service representative by phone may be eliminated. Thus, there remains a need for a method and apparatus which could automatically perform diagnostic functions relating to the function of an ATA and provide spoken information relating to the results of the diagnostic functions. It would be helpful if such a spoken diagnostics method and apparatus was structured to provide on demand analysis of the operation of an ATA even if the ATA was not otherwise functioning properly. It would be additionally desirable for such a spoken diagnostics method and apparatus to be structured provide additional reference and/or information beyond any observed condition by way of URLs or recorded messages.
"The Applicant's invention described herein provides for a method and apparatus adapted to facilitate spoken diagnostics of an ATA or other networked electronic device. The primary components of Applicants' spoke diagnostics method and apparatus include a remote central analysis server and an ATA connected to each other through an electronic data network. When in operation, the spoken diagnostics method and apparatus allows a user to initiate automatic diagnostic functions and be provided with spoken information concerning the diagnosed ATA. As a result, many of the limitations imposed by the prior art are removed."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A method, apparatus and system to provide the ability for an analog telephone adapter (or other consumer electronics device) to provide spoken information to a consumer to help diagnose problems. The spoken diagnostics system and method for comprises a central analysis server and an ATA. When in operation, when a consumer (as an end user) pick up a telephone which is connected to and/or operating through the ATA and enters a preset diagnostic code, defined a telephone number in one embodiment, the ATA and the central analysis server perform a series of diagnostic functions and cause one or more verbal messages relating to the status of the ATA as determined through the diagnostic functions to be spoken over the phone so as to be communicated to the consumer. In one embodiment, the ATA additionally includes a diagnostics button which directly causes the ATA to initiate its diagnostic function. In one embodiment, the ATA includes speakers built in or external speakers to allow it to audibly play the applicable one or more verbal messages relating to the status of the ATA.
"Based on the results of the diagnostic functions performed between the ATA and the central analysis server, one or more of the following messages may be spoken: 'OK' (operating normally within nominal metrics); 'SIP port blocked, see (specified URL) for more information'; 'Insufficient internet bandwidth--(quantity) mbps, see (specified URL) for more information'; 'Unreliable internet connection--(quantity) % loss'; and 'Unreliable internet connection--(quantity) ms jitter.'
"Under circumstances when a network connection with the central analysis server cannot be established or maintained, the ATA is adapted to perform diagnostic functions and provide applicable messages to the user in substantially the same manner as when a network connection is present.
"In some embodiments, more detailed information may be spoken in addition to or in the alternative of relying on external URLs.
"In some embodiments, the ATA will require the entry of a password or preset code in order to actuate the diagnostic functions.
"In some embodiments, a plurality of discrete, preset diagnostic codes are provided and each of preset diagnostic code actuates a distinct set of diagnostics, including more advanced diagnostics.
"In one embodiment, performance of the diagnostic functions will include user interactive question tree interface for allowing the user to supply particular information.
"It is an object of this invention to provide a method and apparatus which could automatically perform diagnostic functions relating to the function of an ATA and provide spoken information relating to the results of the diagnostic functions.
"It is another object of this invention to provide a spoken diagnostics method and apparatus structured to provide on demand analysis of the operation of an ATA even if the ATA was not otherwise functioning properly.
"It is yet another object of this invention to provide a spoken diagnostics method and apparatus structured provide additional reference and/or information beyond any observed condition by way of URLs or recorded messages.
"These and other objects will be apparent to one of skill in the art.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 shows a block diagram showing the component elements of a spoken diagnostics system built in accordance with the present invention.
"FIG. 2 shows a process of enhancing spoken diagnostics on a networked device built in accordance with the present invention.
"FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of the present invention embodied as an ATA built in accordance with the present invention connected to a telephone.
"FIG. 4 shows a schematic diagram of the present invention embodied as a standalone ATA built in accordance with the present invention.
"FIG. 5 shows a schematic diagram of the present invention embodied as a media receiver/player built in accordance with the present invention.
"FIG. 6 shows a process of providing spoken diagnostics to a user from a networked device pairing a handheld electrical device with a entertainment system device to enable second screen control."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Paxinos, Garry M; Kyriakides, Anastasios; Hosfeld,
Keywords for this news article include: Patents.
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