US 5970125 Method, system and apparatus for causing customer premises equipment to automatically call a telecommunications server

ABSTRACT – A system and method for providing messaging services at customer premises equipment. The system includes a messaging platform for receiving and storing messages, the messaging platform including a transmitter for receiving information request messages and a transmitter for transmitting information and customer premises equipment. The customer premises equipment includes a transmitter for transmitting an information request message from the CPE to the messaging platform and a receiver for receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to customer premises equipment (CFE) that is enabled to autonomously call a telecommunications server, including a Stored Program Computer System (SPCS).

As CPEs are built with increased computational power, it has become desirable for them to communicate regularly with an SPCS server both to exchange data and to update their local configuration and programming scripts. Such communication is most sensibly conducted over the pre-existing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to which both the CPE and the SPCS are connected.

It is desirable that communication between the CPE and the SPCS not unduly interfere with the CPE’s conventional use as a telephone. For this reason, it would be inappropriate for the SPCS to initiate a call to the CPE because, in the absence of a CPE ring-suppression mechanism, the CPE would ring and thereby misleadingly summon its user. It is therefore desirable for the CPE to autonomously call the SPCS on a regular basis or in response to specific events.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of receiving information at customer premises equipment. The method includes the steps of transmitting an information request message from the CPE to a messaging platform and receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of providing messaging services at customer premises equipment. The method includes the steps of transmitting an information request message from the CPE to a messaging platform and receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for receiving information at customer premises equipment. The apparatus includes a transmitter for transmitting an information request message from the CPE to a messaging platform and a receiver for receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

Preferably, the transmitter is operable to receive at least one stimulus and transmit the request message in response to the stimulus.

In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a timer tor identifying a pre-defined time, the timer being operable to stimulate the transmitter to transmit the message at a pre-defined time.

In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a timer for identifying pre-defined intervals, the timer being operable to stimulate the transmitter to transmit the message at the pre-defined intervals.

In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a CLID receiver for receiving CLID information and a processor for determining whether or not the CLID information meets a pre-defined criteria and if so stimulating the transmitter to transmit the message.

Preferably, the transmitter includes a dialler and the dialler is operable to dial a first predefined telephone number. Preferably, the diallcr is operable to transmit the intormation request using DTMP signals and the dialler is operable to dial at least one alternate telephone number when the first pre-defined telephone number is unavailable.

Preferably, the receiver is operable to receive the requested information according to the ADSI protocol.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided an apparatus for providing messaging services at customer premises equipment. The apparatus includes a transmitter for transmitting an information request message from the CPE to a messaging platform and a receiver for receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a system for providing messaging services at customer premises equipment. The system includes a messaging platform for receiving and storing messages, the messaging platform including a receiver for receiving information request messages and a transmitter for transmitting information and customer premises equipment. The customer premises equipment includes a transmitter for transmitting an information request message from the CPE to the messaging platform and a receiver for receiving information from the messaging platform in response to the information request message.

Preferably, the apparatus includes a public telephone network, the CPE and the messaging platform being operable to communicate over the public telephone network.

In one embodiment, the information includes an e-mail message or a page.

Preferably, the transmitter in the messaging platform includes a FSK transmitter for transmitting the information in an FSK format to the CPE and preferably, the receiver in the CPE includes an FSK receiver for receiving the information in an PSK format.

Preferably, the information is provided to the CPE in accordance with an ADSI protocol extension.

Preferably, the transmitter at the CPE includes a DTMF transmitter and the receiver at the messaging platform includes a DTMF receiver, the information request message being transmitted to the messaging platform in DTMF signals.

In one sense, the present invention is directed to a CPE that autonomously calls a selection of SPCS servers in response to six types of stimulus.

In Multiple Daily Polling (MDP) the CPE logs into its main SPCS according to a regular schedule, both to exchange message data and to update local configuration parameters and programming script.

In Sent Page Polling (SPP), the CPE logs into a paging system SPCS to determine whether a page that the CPE had previously transmitted has been read and responded to yet.

In Calendar Reminder Calling (CRC), the CPE logs into a message upload SPCS to transmit to a particular subscriber a reminder page regarding an upcoming event.

In Intelligent Remote Notification (IRN), the CPE logs into a message upload SPCS to transmit a page to a particular subscriber confirming that the CPE has received a telephone call from a predefined telephone number.

In Feature Download Management (FDM) Slot Updating (FSU), the CPE logs into a script SPCS to commence an FDM session to update its programming scripts.

In Message Sending Retrying (MSR), the CPE logs into a message upload SPCS to attempt to upload a page that the CPE user had previously tried to upload manually without success.

An autonomous calling system must overcome certain challenges. The SPCS will be busy some of the times that the CPE, calls. Or a communication channel problem might develop during a connect session. The present invention provides for the CPR to retry unsuccessful calls and to call backup SPCSs when connecting to a primary SPCS has been continuously problematic.

The present invention further provides that the CPE will terminate an ongoing autonomous call when a user engages the CPE through actions that include lifting the handsct and operating the keypad. Where the user has recently operated the CPE, the invention provides that autonomous calls be delayed until sufficient idle time has passed to indicate that the user no longer requires the CPE for his own use. These provisions will sometimes require that the CPE retry autonomous calls at a later time.

The mechanism for achieving this functionality includes extensions to the core Analogue Display Services Interface (ADSI) protocol through which an SPCS transmits information for display at the CPE. In particular, certain new Switch To Application (STA) codes are defined to control and reconfigurc the CPE under the direction of the SPCS.

 

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