News Column

Patent Issued for Mobile Client Application for Managing Display of Messages to Users

August 27, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Telecommunications Weekly -- Humana Innovations Enterprises, Inc. (Louisville, KY) has been issued patent number 8806378, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Schwarzberg, Robert (Boca Raton, FL); Dion, Timothy J. (Parkland, FL).

This patent was filed on September 30, 2009 and was published online on August 12, 2014.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "As mobile computing services as well as powerful mobile computing devices have proliferated, people increasingly view their cell phones and other mobile devices as their communication medium of choice. Mobile based services are wide ranging and include not only basic telecommunications and text messaging services but also web browsing and information retrieval, games, music, and even movie and television viewing. Although mobile phones may be used for personal activities such as maintaining contact with family and friends as well as for recreational activities such as listening to music and playing games, people also rely on them for important business and emergency communications. As a result, many mobile phone users make certain their phones are always available and always on. The portability of the mobile phone coupled with the variety of features and functionality that are supported have caused many people to choose mobile devices and services over traditional desktop devices and wire services for all kinds of communications.

"Because mobile phones are the preferred method of communication for many people, they are using them to receive more and more text-based communications in addition to phone calls and audio messages. To respond to the preference of mobile phone users to receive all communications by phone, mobile content providers are developing applications for transmitting messages that conform to various current messaging standards. One messaging protocol that is commonly used is the Short Message Service (SMS) protocol. The protocol supports transmission of text only messages of a limited size. Messages are transmitted through message centers or gateways and held for delivery to recipients. Typically, users select a messaging icon to access the messages. While most messages are successfully delivered, there are limits associated with the use of SMS protocol for text messaging. There are limits on the size of the messages and sending and responding to such messages requires mobile phone users to use the numeric keypad to enter text. The process of drafting a message is time consuming and error-prone. As a result, many people use shorthand and acronyms that save time but are not necessarily understood or decipherable by the recipient. In addition, a per message cost is typically charged to the sender and the recipient for every SMS message that is transmitted to a mobile phone.

"An alternative to SMS protocol for text messaging is the use of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). Use of the protocol requires users to install a special WAP browser on their mobile phones. WAP is typically used for transmission of email messages and for access to websites. When accessing websites, data from the site is converted to Wireless Markup Language (WML) and accessed via the WAP browser. Although WAP supports graphics in addition to text, it effectively requires the provider to customize content for delivery to mobile phones and does not support all of the features and functionality of HTML. For many mobile content providers, its appeal as a communications platform is limited because development and maintenance of WAP applications is costly and the protocol has limited features and functionality.

"While the use of SMS protocol and WAP are adequate for many applications, they do not provide much more than basic functionality for receiving and delivering messages. As mobile content providers vie for the attention of mobile phone users, they want to be sure that their messages are not only delivered but viewed as well. One way to be sure that a message is viewed is to ask the recipient for confirmation that the message was received and viewed. Because interaction using SMS protocol requires use of the numeric keypad as a typewriter, providing such confirmation is cumbersome. The content of the return message depends upon what the user types and therefore, in some cases, the user's response may not be recognized by the provider's application. From the content provider's standpoint, the message is never acknowledged even though the user may have viewed it.

"The use of WAP facilitates more interaction between the mobile phone user and content provider due to the use of graphics that can provide interactivity. Limitations related to use of WML, however, can compromise the interactivity because all of the content must be customized for use in a mobile environment. The standard is specific to mobile devices and therefore, development and maintenance of applications can be costly to a developer.

"Even if SMS protocol and WAP are adequate for a mobile content provider's needs, they provide only functionality for delivering messages or content. The protocols are not designed for message management. If the mobile phone is off or unavailable, the messages are not delivered. The message centers or gateways that support the protocols may provide some delivery support and continue trying to deliver a certain message until a specified number of failures occur. Additional support is not provided. In particular, the phone does not have information or data from the mobile content provider that the provider might be trying to deliver a message.

"Effective messaging for mobile content providers often involves not only knowing that messages were delivered to and viewed by users but also knowing that the recipients viewed them in a timely manner. For important or urgent communications, mobile content providers would like acknowledgment from their users that a particular message was viewed during a particular timeframe. Although the mobile phone itself can provide some feedback in this regard, in many instances, an explicit acknowledgment from the user is the only way to know that a message was actually communicated to the user. Furthermore, in some instances, the mobile content provider may want the mobile phone user to provide more than an acknowledgment of receipt. In some cases, the mobile content provider may want to know the mobile phone user's response to a particular query. In such instances, the ability to respond with more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer is important. Therefore, the ability for mobile content providers and mobile phone users to interact in a particular way is important.

"There is a need for mobile phone messaging technology that facilitates mobile phone user and mobile content provider interaction. There is a need for a mobile phone messaging system and method that supports highly interactive communications between mobile content providers and mobile phone users. There is a need for a mobile phone messaging system and method that supports graphic-based as well as text-based communication so that users can respond easily to messages provided by mobile content providers. There is a need for a mobile phone messaging system and method that allows mobile content providers to manage timely display of messages and user reactions to messages."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention a mobile phone messaging system and method for managing display of messages to mobile phone users. A mobile client application that operates at user's mobile phone supports graphic intensive content and is device independent so that it can operate on a variety of different mobile devices. Mobile content providers that communicate frequently with their mobile phone users can use the system and method to manage the display of messages and related interactions throughout a specific period of time (e.g., daily, weekly, bi-weekly). The number of messages that are provided during a time period, the times that the messages are displayed during the time period, and the message content are configurable. Messages are scheduled for display at the users' mobile devices and interactions with the mobile content provider's server are managed through the mobile client application so that the appropriate messages are communicated to the users at the appropriate times. The mobile client application and mobile content provider communicate using the system and method of message display management so that messages are provided in a timely manner.

"In an example embodiment of the present invention, a mobile client application with messaging features and functionality is loaded on a user's mobile phone. Phone wakeup time data and message content or context data are transmitted from a mobile content provider server to a user's mobile phone for use by the mobile client application. The wakeup time data and message content or context data are stored in the mobile phone and remain at the phone, even if the user turns off the phone. The wakeup times are also added to a registry at the phone that facilitates launching of applications on the phone at the times indicated in the registry. The registry is monitored using features and functionality of the mobile device and the phone launches the mobile client application at the times specified in the registry. The mobile client application then determines the message content or context associated with the wakeup time and connects to the mobile content provider server to request the specific message to be displayed on the mobile phone. If the message prompts the mobile phone user to respond, the user's response is transmitted from the mobile phone to the mobile content provider server."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Schwarzberg, Robert; Dion, Timothy J.. Mobile Client Application for Managing Display of Messages to Users. U.S. Patent Number 8806378, filed September 30, 2009, and published online on August 12, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Humana Innovations Enterprises Inc.

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Source: Telecommunications Weekly

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