This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention generally relates to a system and computer program for the remote tracking and management of cinema assets and content. Specifically, a user may track the status of various devices within a cinema, and manage the maintenance of such devices. A user may also be able to track and manage digital content and licenses stored for playback on the various devices.
"The field of cinema management has primarily been concerned with two distinct operational branches, namely asset management and content management.
"Asset management primarily relates to the monitoring and maintenance of various hardware devices and consumable assets, such as servers, projectors, media blocks, lamps, filters, and storage media. Each of these devices and/or consumables require varying degrees of oversight and scheduled maintenance. Accordingly, cinema owners devote a substantial amount of time and resources to the monitoring, upkeep, and maintenance of various cinema assets, in order to prevent and/or resolve cinema interruptions.
"Content management relates to the management of media content, such as movie features and advertisements. Presently, media content are transmitted to cinemas encrypted, along with separate license keys for decryption during show time. Cinema owners are thus also required to devote substantial time and resources to the organizing and scheduling of various media content and their respective license keys for different cinemas and/or auditoriums having different hardware devices that must be individually configured.
"The maintenance of the various hardware devices, consumable assets, and media content are presently and predominantly manually driven, and must also be conducted on site at each cinema and/or auditorium location. The manual tracking of the mass of information is difficult and often lead to cinema interruptions, such as inadvertent hardware or consumable outages, or forgotten or incorrect license key placements.
"Accordingly, by leveraging an automated system and computer program for the monitoring, maintenance, scheduling of various cinema assets and content, the present invention allows for the management of cinema(s) as to both assets and content remotely and efficiently. Further, by predicting common theater problems with analytical data and device information, the present invention is able to catch eventual problems before they occur and allow a user to take necessary actions well in advance, thus mitigating the chance of any cinema operation interruptions."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention is generally directed to a system and computer program for the remote tracking and management of cinema assets and content, whereby a user may track the status of various devices within a cinema, and manage the maintenance of such devices as well as their media content. Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to increase efficiency in cinema management, and to minimize downtime through the intelligent and active monitoring and notification of various required or recommended actions, to eliminate any emergency maintenance or other situations that may interrupt cinema operations.
"In initially broad terms, a system of the present invention may comprise an application server accessible from a plurality of remote devices and in communication with a plurality of cinema assets. The application server comprises a computer program having a plurality of code segments directed to various features outlined in more detail below. The computer program may thus comprise a consumables code segment, a features code segment, a support code segment, an assets code segment, a calendar code segment. The computer program may further comprise a point of sale code segment, notification code segment, analytics code segment, administrative code segment, and a messaging code segment.
"The consumables code segment is configured to track and display usage of at least one consumable asset, such as a projector lamp, a projector filter, and/or a hard disk. Usage may include the total warranty hours, the hours used, and the hours remaining.
"Hours used may be calculated based on approximate averages, or directly from a consumable asset if the consumable asset is appropriately equipped with a sensor and/or other device comprising usage data. Alternatively, hours used may be calculated based on analytical data from an analytics code segment that tracks the average use time and/or expiration time of a particular asset. Consumable information such as model number, serial number may also be provided through this code segment. The consumables code segment may be integrated with a notification code segment such as to flag potential issues by providing notifications of a consumable asset approaching expiration. The consumables code segment may also be integrated with a point of sale code segment such as to allow a user to purchase a replacement or compatible consumable asset within the computer program.
"The assets code segments is configured to track and display hardware information of at least one hardware asset, such as a projector, computer or server, and/or media block. Hardware information may include model number, serial number, firmware version, operational status, and/or warranty information. This information may be queried from the hardware asset itself, or may be manually inputted into a local server or the application server. The consumables code segment may be integrated with a notification code segment or feature such as to flag potential issues by providing notifications of an issue with a hardware asset or the expiration of a warranty period. The assets code segment may similarly be integrated to the notification code segment and a point of sale code segment, such as to provide early warning indicators, i.e. increased temperature, fan speed, and to allow a user to purchase maintenance, a replacement asset, and/or purchase additional warranty. The assets code segment may also allow a user to update the firmware of one or more hardware assets remotely.
"The features code segment is configured to track, display content information, and effect play operations of various media. Content information may include total run time, current play time, play status, media information, subtitle information, and/or license information. A user may create or modify a play list and/or scheduling of different media to be played at different auditoriums on particular cinema asset(s) or device(s). The features code segment may be integrated with a notification code segment such as to notify a user of an approaching license expiration or faulty license key. The features code segment may be configured to allow a user to extend or renew a license for a content or feature.
"The point of sale code segment as described above, may be integrated with one or more code segments, in order to process payment transactions for the purchase of consumable or hardware assets, for the maintenance or warranty of various assets, and/or for the license of media content.
"The calendar code segment is configured to display at least one representation of a notification time or time period to a user in a calendar format. The calendar code segment may similarly be integrated with the code segments described above, such as to display the various notifications or time periods.
"The support code segment is configured to facilitate communication of support requests between the user and support personnel. The support code segment may be partially integrated with the above code segments such as to automatically provide support personnel with information regarding the status of various assets within a cinema, and for support personnel to push the scheduled maintenance of various assets or the shipping status of various assets to the calendar code segment to be viewed by the user.
"The present system and computer program may comprise additional code segments, such as an administrative code segment configured to set permissions of a plurality of users, such that different users may access and maintain various aspects of a cinema or plurality of cinemas. The messaging code segment may be configured to facilitate communication between users within a cinema organization. The analytics code segment may be configured to display historical data of prior usage of various cinema assets, as well as past purchase history. The analytics code segment may be partially integrated with the above code segments in order to predict possible issues or failures. For example, usage or expiration of a consumable asset may be derived from the average usage time of a number of particular cinema asset(s) in aggregate.
"These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become clearer when the drawings as well as the detailed description are taken into consideration.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"For a fuller understanding of the nature of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:
"FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic representation of a system for the remote tracking and management of cinema assets and content.
"FIG. 2 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with a plurality of code segments directed to the computer program for the remote tracking and management of cinema assets and content.
"FIG. 3 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with the consumables code segment of the computer program of FIG. 2.
"FIG. 4 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with the assets code segment of the computer program of FIG. 2.
"FIG. 5 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with the features code segment of the computer program of FIG. 2.
"FIG. 6 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with the support code segment of the computer program of FIG. 2.
"FIG. 7 depicts an example of a user interface for accessing and interacting with the support code segment of the computer program of FIG. 2.
"FIG. 8 depicts an example of a user interface illustrating the notification features of the computer program of FIG. 2, showing the particular theater and auditorium with unread notifications.
"FIG. 9 depicts an example of a user interface illustrating other menu options.
"Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings."
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Younger, Guillermo; NAGAKI, LUIS; YOUNGER, ALEXANDER; PITTS, CORNELIUS. System and
Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and Data Aggregation.
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