Title:
Apparatus, systems, and methods to facilitate the interaction between parties
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Devices, systems and methods for facilitating interactions between individuals are disclosed. The exemplary method may include providing member facility information and allowing other members to review the facility information. Members may request a meeting with another member with details of the requested meeting via the system. The request is transmitted to another member and the other member may accept, deny, or modify the request by the other member. Members may have an other members inclusive list or other members exclusive list to assist in facilitating interactions. Ratings may be used to rate other members and interaction facilities to aid in facilitating future interactions.



Inventors:
Maleeny, Robert Cary (Ramsey, NJ, US)
Goulet, Robert Lowry (Orlando, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/001847
Publication Date:
09/25/2008
Filing Date:
12/13/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
G06F15/16
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
JENSEN, NICHOLAS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KALIKO & YEAGER, L.L.C. (500 NORTH FRANKLIN TURNPIKE, RAMSEY, NJ, 07446, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of facilitating interactions between individuals, comprising the acts of: a) providing a first private facility information by a member of the first private facility; b) reviewing a second private facility information provided by a member of the second private facility; c) requesting a meeting with the member of the second private facility with details of the requested meeting by the member of the first private facility; d) transmitting the requested meeting to the member of the second private facility; e) accepting, denying, or modifying the requested meeting by the member of the second private facility in a response; and f) transmitting the response to the member of the first private facility.

2. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1 comprising the acts of: putting other members on one of an inclusive list and exclusive list.

3. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1 comprising the acts of: receiving a host rating of the interaction by the member of the second private facility and receiving a guest rating of the interaction by the member of the first private facility.

4. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1 comprising the acts of: receiving a rating of the first private facility by the member of the second private facility.

5. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1, wherein the first private facility and second private facility are private members-only social clubs.

6. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1, wherein the member of first private facility is matched with the member of the second private facility based exclusively on the membership of the facilities.

7. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1, wherein the member of first private facility is matched with the member of the second private facility based exclusively on the membership of the private facilities, time of the requested meeting, and members not being on a exclusive membership list.

8. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1, further comprising the actions of: transferring funds between accounts of the member of the first private facility and member of the second private facility based on expenses incurred from the requested meeting.

9. A method of facilitating interactions of claim 1, wherein the actions are carried out via a web portal.

10. A system for facilitating interactions between individuals, comprising: a member of a first private organization providing information of the first private organization to a database; a member of a second private organization providing information of the second private organization to a database; the member of the first private organization reviewing the second private organization information and requesting a meeting of the member of the second private organization with details of the requested meeting by the member of the first private organization providing information to a server; the server transmitting the requested meeting to the member of the second private organization; the member of the second private organization in a response to the server accepting, denying, or modifying the requested meeting; and the server transmitting the response to the member of the first private organization.

11. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10 comprising members putting other members on one of an inclusive list and exclusive list stored in the database.

12. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10 comprising the server receiving a host rating of the interaction by the member of the second private organization and receiving a guest rating of the interaction by the member of the first private organization.

13. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10 comprising the server receiving a rating of the first private organization by the member of the second private organization.

14. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10, wherein the first private organization and second private organization are private members-only clubs.

15. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10, wherein the member of first private organization is matched with the member of the second private organization by the server based exclusively on the membership of the facilities.

16. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10, wherein the member of first private organization is matched with the member of the second private organization by the server based exclusively on the membership of the facilities, time of the requested meeting, and members not being on an exclusive membership list.

17. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10, wherein the server transfers funds between accounts of the member of the first private organization and member of the second private organization based on expenses incurred from the requested meeting.

18. A system for facilitating interactions of claim 10, wherein the actions of the members are carried out via a web portal.

19. A machine-readable medium having instructions stored thereon for causing a machine for facilitating interactions of members of private clubs comprising the acts of: a) providing a first members-only facility information by a member of the first members-only facility via a web portal; b) reviewing a second members-only facility information provided by a member of the second members-only facility via a web portal; c) requesting a meeting with the member of the second members-only facility with details of the requested meeting by the member of the first members-only facility; d) transmitting the requested meeting to the member of the second members-only facility; e) accepting, denying, or modifying the requested meeting by the member of the second members-only facility in a response; and f) transmitting the response to the member of the first members-only facility.

20. A machine-readable medium of claim 19, wherein the member of the first members-only facility is matched with the member of the second members-only facility based exclusively on the membership of the facilities, time of the requested meeting, and members not being on an exclusive membership list.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/874,916 filed Dec. 14, 2006 entitled “System and methods to facilitate the interaction between entities”, which is incorporated fully herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to facilitating private interactions, and more particularly to evaluating and presenting interactions between parties privately.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Social and recreational clubs and private facilities may limit access to individuals who are members. Individuals may desire to experience other private clubs and facilities where they are not members, as well as meet other individuals. Members of clubs may also wish to invite guests to share in the enjoyment of clubs and facilities to which they members, as well as make new acquaintances.

Identifying individuals who are compatible with each other may be difficult and time consuming. Identifying other individuals that may have compatible interests may be socially awkward. In addition, providing personal information puts members at risk both physically and emotionally. Face-to-face meetings between individuals also inhibit meaningful feedback that may assist individuals in future interactions.

Accordingly, an efficient and effective apparatus, system and method is needed for assisting individuals in identifying possible compatible individuals without the need to divulge sensitive information or require prior personal contact. The systems and method may allow individuals to identify clubs and facilities of interest and share their experiences, or interaction at clubs and facilities. In addition, systems and methods may allow for feedback as well as allow other individuals to provide input in order to facilitate future interactions with compatible individuals.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an objective of the present invention to provide devices, systems, and methods for facilitating interactions between individuals. The exemplary method may include providing information about a first facility by a member of the first facility and reviewing information about a second facility provided by a member of the second facility. The member of the first facility may request a meeting of the member of the second facility with details of the requested meeting. The requested meeting is transmitted to the member of the second facility. The member of the second facility may accept, deny, or modify the requested meeting. The response is transmitted back to the member of the first facility.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the device may incorporate the following embodiments. In one embodiment, a member may put other members on their inclusive list or exclusive list. In another embodiment, members may rate the interaction and/or facility. In another embodiment, the first facility and second facility are private member only clubs or association. In yet another embodiment, the member of the first facility may be matched with the member of the second facility based exclusively on the membership of the facilities, time of the requested meeting, and members not being on an exclusive membership list. In another embodiment, the actions are carried out via a web portal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objectives and advantages of the present invention will be apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of the interaction process between members according to a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2A-C are flow charts illustrating a general overview of searching members for possible interactions according to a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of the exclusion of members according to a third exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of the inclusion of members according to a fourth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of the matching of members according to a fifth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 6A and 6B are flow charts illustrating a general overview of receiving a request and a response by a member according to a sixth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of modifying the request according to a seventh exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of settling interaction costs between members according to an eighth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustrating a general overview of rating members according to a ninth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a exemplary diagram of components for processing interaction between members according to a tenth exemplary embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Each member may have several profiles, “reciprocation forms” and override tables which both facilitate the interaction of different parties and simultaneously safeguard each party's privacy. The methods and systems may be used to align people with the same demographics and characteristics. The methods and systems may be used to allow people to seek out others with the same demographics/characteristics privately. The tables in the database may include but are not limited to the following.

I. Member Profile

Contains information the member is willing to provide. Though some information may be required, more information may be voluntary. Each member may be informed that the more information they provide the better their chances of interaction may be.

II. Inclusive Preferences

The member indicates the traits of other members with whom he/she would most like to interact.

III. Exclusive Requirements

The member indicates the traits of other members with whom he/she would least like to interact.

IV. Inclusive Override Table (Friends List)

The member's list of other members from whom he/she will accept communications regardless of what is stated in II and III. (This list may grow over time as the members become more familiar with one another)

V. Exclusive Override Table (not a Friend List)

The member's list of persons (other members) from whom he/she will not accept requests regardless of what is stated in II and III. (This may also grow over time as the members become more familiar with one another)

VI. Hosting Ratings

Each member has a rating table where other members they have hosted may rate them on a sliding scale and post comments.

VII. Guest Ratings

Each member has a rating table where other members of whom they have been a guest may rate them on a sliding scale and post comments.

VIII. Clubs and Facilities

Contains name, location, directions, ratings, scorecards, etc. for but not limited to restaurants, nightclubs, country clubs, yacht clubs, golf clubs, hunting clubs, fishing clubs, ski clubs, flying clubs, racing clubs and resorts. Facilities and clubs also includes organizations and private membership information about an individuals.

IX. Member Calendar

Contains information about events specific to the member and may also include general events. May or may not be accessed by other members. Member may allow partial or limited access.

Process

  • I. The member (“Initiating Member” or “IM”) initiates the process by making a request as shown in FIGS. 1-2. This may be either a request for access to a club, facility, event, goods or services to be provided by another member or may be a like offer to another member. The request may comprise a pre-defined list of criteria or the member may specify criteria. Referring to FIGS. 3-4, the member may also choose to use their inclusive or exclusive preference tables or create new ones for this request (they may be less picky when pressed for time or on a trip or have a specific agenda).
  • II. The request is “sifted” through the member database and the other members' profiles and tables and delivered to those who remain after the search as shown in FIG. 5. Attached to the request is the “public profile” of the member making the request or offer. This may include all or some of the required or voluntary profile information.
  • III. The member who receives the request (the “Responding Member” or “RM”) then has the following options as shown in FIGS. 6-7:
    • A. Yes (response is sent back with RM public profile), RM member agrees to member's request/offer “as is”. Move to step 1V.
    • B. Yes, but with modifications (response is sent back with RM public profile), RM agrees to a member's request/offer, but with some modifications. The RM profile may then be exchanged with the Initiating Member making the request.
    • C. No (system takes no action except to update the appropriate log files for this transaction), the IM may or may not receive any information that their request/offer was denied.
      • Each request may be considered OPEN for a period of time. After a specified period of time has passed the system may then takes steps to deliver an opportunity for the initiating member to make a match. These may include but are not limited to:
        • 1. A message may be sent to the member offering other area clubs, facilities, events, goods or services that may be available. The message may contain links to the appropriate websites or additional information so the member can make an informed decision.
        • 2. A list may be offered for each available club, facility, event, goods or services in the area, if the member would like the system to check availability, the member may indicate which they would like to pursue. The system or personnel may then contact each in an attempt to accommodate the member's request.
        • 3. The system or personnel may attempt to contact the member to secure a club, facility, event, goods or services that fulfill the member's request.
    • D. Add to “Exclusive override table”, the IM is added to the RM's exclusive override table. The IM may not receive any information that their request/offer was denied.
  • IV. Initiating Member Receives Positive Responses.
    • At this point the two members are able to directly contact one another to iron out the details or if they prefer the system may facilitate the rest of the interaction.
  • V. Payment:
    • Members may be discouraged from seeking monetary remuneration exceeding the costs actually incurred by either party. If an exchange of funds is required for whatever reason the members may choose to handle it between themselves or may request that the system facilitate the process. Referring to FIG. 8, the system may collect funds from the appropriate parties either directly or through a third party and release them or instruct a third party to release them based on agreed-upon criteria.
  • VI. Ratings
    • Referring to FIG. 9, each of the participants may be asked to “rate” their experience. These ratings may include all aspects of their experience. Once completed these ratings may be publicly available to other members or viewable under certain circumstances. In order to prompt member participation a new request may require both members to rate their last experience, or some other form of enticement may be used.
    • Each step of this process may be archived in the databases and available in case of member complaints, questions and/or for data mining in searches for trends and patterns in member behavior among other things.

Components

Architecturally, aspects of the invention can be located on a server, workstation, minicomputer, or mainframe as shown in FIG. 10. A central server or group of servers may accomplish the processing and storage of data. Members may access the server and databases of information via networks, for example, the Internet. Members may log into the server from remote personal computers to receive and transmit data. Aspects of the system may be implemented at the server, member computer, or combination of both.

The systems and methods may be incorporated in software used with a computer or other suitable operating device. The software stored or loaded in the memory may include one or more separate programs, each of which comprises an ordered listing of executable instructions for implementing the methods and systems of the invention. The software may work in conjunction with an operating system and/or browser or email application. The operating system essentially controls the execution of the computer programs. The system and method may be implement by software stored within the memory of the computer running the operating system. The browser or email application controls the transmission and receive of information. The system or method may be implemented by an application executed by either a browser or email application or other remote application. For example, the system or method may also be implemented on a remote server that provides an email protocol that transmits information to and from user via email or website. The system and method may also include a Graphic User Interface (GUI) to allow the administrator or members to interact with the system.

Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention can be practiced by other than the described examples and embodiments, which are presented for purposes of illustration rather than of limitation and that the present invention is limited only by the claims that follow.