Title:
Communication System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The object of the present invention is a communication system comprising: mobile stations (6) and a service centre (1) comprising a memory (3) wherein service profiles specified by users are stored. For flexible and resource-saving transmission of betting data, the service centre (1) is arranged, on the basis of the service profiles, to transmit such betting data to mobile stations (6) that has not previously been transmitted to said mobile stations.



Inventors:
Runola, Esa-matti (Klaukkala, FI)
Application Number:
11/630762
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
06/29/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; G06Q50/00
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Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
DONADO, FRANK E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAMILTON, BROOK, SMITH & REYNOLDS, P.C. (CONCORD, MA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-9. (canceled)

10. A communication system comprising: mobile stations, a communication network, and a service centre comprising a memory wherein service profiles specified by users are stored, the service centre is arranged to transmit, over the communication network, betting data selected on the basis of the service profiles to the users' mobile stations, and to receive bets transferred over the communication network from the users' mobile stations, whereby the service centre stores information user-specifically in the memory about the betting data transmitted to the mobile stations of the different users, and before transmitting betting data to the mobile station of a given user checks in the memory the betting data transmitted to said user's mobile station, and transmits only such betting data to the mobile station that was not previously transmitted to said user's mobile station on the basis of the information stored in the memory, and wherein at least one of said mobile stations comprises a memory wherein the mobile station is arranged to store the betting data received from the service centre over the communication network, and an application, which is arranged to utilize the betting data stored in the memory and to update a display of the mobile station on the basis of the betting data for displaying up-to-date information to the user of the mobile station about available betting objects, and which, in response a selection performed by the user of the mobile station via a user interface, is arranged to control the mobile station to transmit signals over the communication network to the service centre for placing a bet concerning the betting object selected by the user.

11. A system as claimed in claim 10, wherein the betting data transmitted by the service centre includes the following, selected on the basis of the service profile: permanent data having a low updating need from one betting occasion to another, and including background data concerning such betting objects in which the user is interested on the basis of the service profile, and betting scenarios, and event data, on the basis of which said application in the mobile station retrieves up-to-date information about available betting objects from the permanent data stored in the memory for displaying on the display.

12. A system as claimed in claim 10 or 11, wherein information about a status is included in the service profiles, the status being specified by the users for the service profiles, and the service centre is arranged to transmit betting data only to the mobile stations of such users, the status of the service profile of which users indicates that the users wish to receive betting data.

13. A service centre of a communication system, the centre comprising a memory wherein service profiles specified by users are stored user-specifically, and the service centre is arranged to: check in the memory, in connection with the transmission of betting data according to the service profile, which betting data has been transmitted to a mobile station of said user, and to transmit the betting data to the mobile station only if said betting data has not previously been transmitted to the mobile station of said user on the basis of the information stored in the memory, store information in the memory about the betting data transmitted to the mobile station for said user after transmission of the betting data, and receive bets transferred from the mobile stations of the users.

14. A service centre as claimed in claim 13, wherein the betting data transmitted by the service centre includes the following, selected on the basis of the service profile: permanent data having a low updating need from one betting occasion to another, and including background data concerning such betting objects in which the user is interested on the basis of the service profile, and betting scenarios, and event data indicating, to the mobile station that received the betting data, which permanent data stored in the memory of the mobile station the mobile station should utilize for generating up-to-date information about betting objects.

15. A service centre as claimed in claim 13 or 14, wherein the service profiles include information about a status specified by the users for the service profiles, and the service centre is arranged to transmit betting data only to the mobile stations of such users, the status of the service profile of which users indicates that the users wish to receive betting data.

16. A method of processing betting data received over a wireless connection in a mobile station, comprising storing the received betting data in a memory, utilizing the betting data stored in the memory for updating a display of the mobile station for displaying up-to-date information to the user of the mobile station about available betting objects, receiving a selection of a betting object performed by the user via a user interface from the available betting objects displayed on the display, and controlling the mobile station to transmit information over a wireless connection for setting a bet regarding a betting object selected by the user.

17. A computer program for executing the method of claim 16.

18. A computer program arranged to control a mobile station to: store received betting data in a memory, utilize the data stored in the memory for updating a display of the mobile station for displaying up-to-date information to a user of the mobile station about available betting objects, receive the user's selection of a betting object via a user interface from the available betting objects displayed on the display, and transmit information over a wireless connection for placing a bet regarding a betting object selected by the user.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to transmitting betting data over a wireless connection to be utilized by a user of a mobile station. In the present application, the concept mobile station should be taken broadly to cover all such wireless communication devices that provide their uses with the ability to communicate over a wireless communication, such as mobile telephones, PDA devices (Personal Data Assistant) and computers communicating over a wireless communication.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Solutions are previously known wherein users are able to place bets via the Internet concerning given events, such as the results of sporting contests. When the event that is the object of the betting draws closer, the arranger of the betting prevents the setting of new bets regarding the event. The bets placed before this point in time participate in the betting.

The most significant weakness of the above known solution is that, in practice, the user has to place his bet at quite an early stage. Often significantly before the start of a hockey match, for example. For example, when setting the bet from home before leaving for the site of the match, the user has not necessarily yet reached the right ‘match feeling’, which does not make the betting particularly interesting from the point of view of the user.

In order to allow the betting to be implemented as user-friendly as possible and interestingly from the point of view of the user, it is desirable that the user be provided with the ability to implement the betting even at a very late stage, for instance at the site of the match, via his mobile station over a wireless connection. However, in this case, the problem is the data transfer over the wireless connection.

In known solutions, wherein data is loaded into the mobile station over a wireless connection, the entire amount of data required is loaded into the mobile station at a time, e.g. a www page (World Wide Web) or a WAP page (Wireless Application Protocol). This being so, the amount of data to be transferred at a time and, consequently, also the communication costs become significant. At times, the same information has to be transmitted repeatedly to the same mobile station, which also increases the communication costs. Accordingly, the need has arisen for a solution enabling the transmission of betting data to a user's mobile station as user-friendly as possible, while allowing the total amount of the transferable data to be simultaneously minimized.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the present invention is to solve the above-described problem and to provide a solution enabling the transmission of betting data over a wireless connection to a user's mobile station as flexibly and user-friendly as possible without the amounts of data to be transferred increasing unreasonably high. This object is achieved with a communication system according to independent claim 1, with a service centre according to independent claim 4, a method according to independent claim 7, and a computer program according to independent claims 8 and 9.

The invention utilizes accurate screening of the betting data to be transferred by means of a service profile defined by the user in such a manner that information is transmitted to the user only about the betting objects in which he is interested. In addition to this, information is maintained in a memory of the service centre about the betting data that was previously transmitted to the user's mobile station, and which consequently is stored in the memory of the mobile station. This avoids the repeated transmission of the same data.

Consequently, the most significant advantages of the invention are the ability to provide a user with an extremely user-friendly and flexible betting solution by means of which the user can easily be informed of all betting objects that the user is interested in, that the user is able to place bets even at a very late stage, for instance even as late as at the site of the match, and that the amounts of data to be transferred can be minimized, whereby unnecessary loading of the communication network and the communication costs incurred by the user are as low as possible.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the betting data contains permanent data and event data selected on the basis of the service profile. This being so, the permanent data includes such data whose need for updates from a betting occasion to another is small. In this case, the event data can be composed exclusively (or almost exclusively) of information that, in connection with an individual betting event, indicates, to the mobile station, the parts of the permanent data stored in the memory, which the mobile station should relay to the user for presenting the information associated with the betting event. This way the amount of data to be transferred in connection with the actual betting remains very small. This is an advantage for instance in connection with a large-scale sporting event, when betting data is to be transmitted to a very large number of users, since the amounts of data to be transmitted at a time over the communication network to the users are minimized.

Preferred embodiments of the communication system and the service centre according to the information become evident from the attached dependent claims 2 to 3 and 5 to 6.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

In the following, the invention will be described in more detail by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a first preferred embodiment of the invention,

FIGS. 2A to 2D illustrate betting objects to be presented to a user of a mobile station,

FIG. 3 shows a flow diagram of a first preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention, and

FIG. 4 illustrates the transmission of betting data between a service centre and a mobile station in yet another preferred embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a first preferred embodiment of the invention. The system of FIG. 1 comprises a service centre 1 connected to a mobile communication network 4, the centre providing betting services to users of mobile stations, such as the user of a mobile station 6 shown in the figure. In practice, the service centre can be implemented as one or more servers that are programmed to execute the functions of the service centre. The service centre may also be a part of the mobile communication network. In the case of FIG. 1, it is shown by way of example that the service centre is composed of one server having two memories. However, in practice, the number of memories may be one or more and they can be implemented with memory circuits, files on a hard disk of a server or any other solution enabling the storage of the necessary data.

Users are provided with the option to register as users of a service, whereby user data is stored in a memory 3 of the service centre. The user data may include a user name and a password enabling the use of the service, and the user's service profile, for example. In this case, the service profile indicates the betting objects in which the user is interested. In other words, the service profile may indicate that the user wants to bet on ice hockey matches in particular and exclusively on the matches of a given team, for example. The user may also specify his user profile to be in the desired status, active, partly active or passive, for example. The service centre 1 uses the selected status to decide whether it can transmit betting data to the user at that particular moment for instance in such a manner that when the profile is active, the service centre transmits betting data concerning all available betting objects according to the user's service profile to the user. When the profile is passive, the service centre does not transmit betting data to the user. The user may use his mobile station or, alternatively, for instance the Internet, to register as a user at the service centre, open a betting account at the service centre, and alter the data in the service centre.

The active/passive functions of a profile may comprise several levels. For example, the user may be interested in continuously receiving notices about forthcoming ice hockey, football, ski jumping, election or other selected events in general. Feasible notices may include for instance: events available for selected topics/genres, betting objects (what you can bet on), and the time when the betting/event starts and when the betting/event ends. For example, when current EM football matches begin, the user has decided to watch them on TV and simultaneously bet on the Netherlands-Denmark match. In this case, the user activates the desired topics associated with the object (e.g. the following scorer, the scoreline, etc.). The user then wants to receive and also place new bets among the supply, however, without stopping the original bet/event/time ‘news feed’. However, the user wants to purchase additional background information for the bets to be played, such as last-minute information about the player lists of the playing teams, players' statistics, mutual matches between the countries, etc.

Betting data is also maintained at the service centre 1 in a memory 2. The betting data may originate from one or more instances providing betting, which provide their betting objects via a common service centre to users registered at the service centre 1. Physically, the service centre may be arranged in a data processing system of an instance providing betting or, alternatively, the service centre may be located separately from the instances providing betting in such a manner that an external operator maintains it.

When a user previously registered at the service centre 1 wishes to place a bet, he uses his mobile station 6 to communicate with the service centre 1 over a communication connection 4, and specifies the status of his service profile as active. Alternatively, the status of the service profile can be changed to active also via the Internet by using a wired communication connection, for example. When the status of the service profile changes, the service centre updates the user data in the memory 3. The service centre then starts to compare the betting data in its memory 2 with the user's active service profile to find out if such a betting object is available that the user is interested in based on his service profile. If the user's service profile has been passive for a longer period of time, it is possible that a large amount of such betting data is found in the memory 2 that corresponds to the user's service profile, and on which bets can still be placed. At any time, the service centre may also receive new betting data to be stored in the memory 2 from a party or parties providing betting.

In order for the service centre to be able to keep a user-specific record of the betting data already transmitted to the mobile stations of the different users, the betting data may be for instance numbered consecutively at the service centre in such a manner that each betting data entity, i.e. data packet, stored in the memory 2 is assigned a unique number. In this case, it is sufficient that user-specific information is maintained in the memory 3 about the number of the latest data packet transmitted to a given user. All data packets having a higher number than said number and found in the memory 2 when the user defines his service profile as active, have thus to be studied in order to find out if they correspond to the service profile, and, if so, said data packets are to be transmitted to the user's mobile station.

When the service centre detects that its memory 2 contains betting data suitable for the user's service profile, it first checks if information is stored in the memory 3 about said betting data having already been transmitted to the user of the mobile station 6. This check may take place for instance in the above-mentioned manner based on the numbering of the data packets. If said data is already transmitted, the service centre 1 does not retransmit it to the user. If, in contrast, the check shows that said betting data have not been transmitted to the user of the mobile station 6, the service centre transmits them via the communication system 4 to the mobile station 6. In the case of FIG. 1, the communication system is assumed to be composed of a cellular radio system, which transmits the betting data wirelessly via a base station 5 to the mobile station 6.

The mobile station 6 stores the received betting data in a memory 8. In the mobile station 6, an application 7 is active, which in practice may be implemented as a computer program controlling the operation of the mobile station, a circuit solution or a combination thereof. The application utilizes the betting data stored in the memory 8 by controlling the mobile station, based on the betting data, to display up-to-date information about available betting objects on its display 9, for example in the manner shown in FIGS. 2A to 2D. Consequently, the user of the mobile station 6 continuously sees up-to-date information on the display 9 of the mobile station about the betting objects he can bet on at that particular moment.

When the user wishes to place a bet, he uses a user interface 10 (e.g. keyboard) of the mobile station to select the object he wants to bet on, and in addition informs the size of the bet, i.e. the amount of money to be spent. The application 7 detects the user's selection and controls the mobile station 6 to transmit the information associated with the bet over the communication connection 4 to the service centre 1. The service centre registers the bet in the memory 2 and subtracts the amount of money spent on the bet from the user's game account. When the betting ends and when the outcome of the event that was the object of the bet is known, the service centre credits the user's game account with the amount of money won, should the user's bet have led to a win.

The message transmitted to the service centre because of the bet the user selected includes at least an identifier for verifying the user's identity. In addition, different parameters (stake, percentage & point in time & player, player & point in time & outcome, etc.) associated with the betting object may be included.

When the user's service profile is active, the service centre transmits betting data to the user's mobile station 6 also in the cases when betting on an object suitable for the user's service profile is no longer possible. This betting data, too, is stored in the memory 8 of the mobile station 6, whereby the application 7, when retrieving betting data from the memory 8, detects that the betting has ended for said betting objects, and presents this fact to the user in a suitable manner. Furthermore, the service centre may transmit betting data to the mobile station when the odds of some available betting object change, which typically takes place towards the end of a game, the outcome of the match being the object of the betting. The application 7 updates the data to be presented to the user in a manner allowing the user to remain aware of the odds of the different betting objects.

FIGS. 2A to 2D illustrate an example of a manner of presenting betting objects to a user of a mobile station. The betting objects and the information related to betting can naturally be presented to the user in an alternative manner. The assumption in the case of FIG. 2A is that the user has used his mobile station to activate his service profile, whereby the mobile station has received and stored betting data in a memory. The betting application of the mobile station then produces up-to-date information about available betting objects onto the display of the mobile station, the information including three items in the case of FIG. 2A. The user may use the user interface of the mobile station to select one of these objects for closer study, and obtain additional information about betting odds or the time the betting ends, for example, should it be specified. The user can then select the object for placing a bet in the manner described in connection with FIG. 1.

The assumption in the situation of FIG. 2B is that the service centre has received new betting data, which it has noticed to match the user's service profile, and has thus transmitted said betting data relating to object 4 to the user's mobile station. The application of the mobile station, in turn, has automatically updated the display of the mobile station to show to the user that betting object 4 is also selectable.

In the situations of FIGS. 2C and 2D, the service centre has received information about the end of the placing of bets as regards some betting object. Since said betting object corresponds to the user's service profile, the service centre has transmitted betting data to the user's mobile station, the data indicating that said betting object is closed. The betting data is stored in the memory of the mobile station, and an active application in the mobile station updates the display of the mobile station by deleting said object 2 from the display in the case of FIG. 2C, or, alternatively, in the case of FIG. 2D, by adding a note after object 2 stating that object 2 is closed. Consequently, the user may always use his mobile station to easily and user-friendly find out the betting objects he is interested in and, when desired, place bets on them.

The flow diagram of FIG. 3 illustrates the processing of betting data in a mobile station.

In block A, the mobile station receives betting data, which is stored in the memory of the mobile station in block B.

In block C, an active application in the mobile station retrieves betting data from the memory and updates the display of the mobile station to display up-to-date information about the betting objects. The information may be displayed in several stages, whereby the summary shown in FIGS. 2A to 2D is preferably first displayed to the user about the available betting objects. When the user selects a given object via the user interface for closer study, the application may display information related to said object on the display, such as player lists or participant lists and odds.

In block D, the application detects the selection of a bet made by the user via the user interface. Pertaining to the selection, the application also receives the sum of money selected by the user from the user via the user interface. In block E, the application controls the mobile station to transmit the information descriptive of the betting object selected and the size of the bet to the service centre for placing the bet regarding the object selected by the user.

FIG. 4 illustrates the transmission of betting data between a service centre and a mobile station in a preferred embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, a solution is in use, wherein the betting data is classified into two categories, i.e. permanent data and event data.

In step 11 in FIG. 4, the user of the mobile station registers as a user of the service centre, whereby the user simultaneously registers a service profile at the service centre, the assumption being in the following that the profile specifies that the user is interested in placing a bet on the events of a match of a given ice-hockey team.

In step 12, the service centre detects that it has betting data to be transmitted that fits the user's service profile and that was not previously transmitted to the mobile station. Accordingly, it transmits permanent data to the mobile station, the data being stored in the memory of the mobile station. In FIG. 4, this permanent data is illustrated by two tables, of which table T1 includes betting scenarios and table T2 a player list (in practice, the player list may include also other information, such as the players' numbers). This permanent data remains substantially unchanged in the memory of the mobile station during the whole ice-hockey season, whereby there is no need to retransmit it from one betting occasion to another. If changes occur in the permanent data during the season, the service centre transmits betting data indicative of the changes to the mobile station, allowing the data in the tables to be updated.

In step 13, the service centre transmits betting data including event data, which is stored in the memory of the mobile station. The application of the mobile station detects the event data and displays scenario S1 as the betting object on the display of the mobile station, i.e. the object of the betting is the player who will score the next goal in the match. In the exemplary cases, the odds for the different players in the player list are P1 1.5, P2 3.2, P3 7.0, P4 4.6 and P5 2.5. The information relating to the available bet can thus be transmitted well compressed to the mobile station, i.e. it is sufficient that the mobile station is informed that scenario S1 of the permanent data stored in its memory is in question, in addition to which the odds for the different players are notified in the order of to the player list.

In step 14, the service centre transmits betting data including event data, which is stored in the memory of the mobile station. The application of the mobile station detects the event data and displays scenario S2 as the betting object on the display of the mobile station, i.e. the object of the betting is the moment the next goal is scored. The odds are 2.0.

In step 15, the user of the mobile station selects the moment the goal is scored, i.e. scenario S2, as the betting object, and places a bet of the amount of EUR 5 on the time of the next goal being 10:30.

In step 16, the service centre transmits betting data including event data indicating that betting on scenario S2 is closed. The application of the mobile station thus updates the display of the mobile station such that the display remains up-to-date.

In step 17, the user places a bet with the mobile station regarding scenario S1, selects as alternative that the following scorer is player P5 in the list of players, and sets EUR 10 as the sum of the bet.

In step 18, the service centre transmits betting data including event data indicating that betting on scenario S1 is closed. Thus, the application of the mobile station updates the display of the mobile station such that the display remains up-to-date.

In accordance with the invention, the mobile station can transmit a request for updating the betting data to the service centre, i.e. for retransmission of previously transmitted betting data. This may become necessary if the memory of the mobile station is malfunctioning. Similarly, in response to a request received from the service centre, the mobile station may transmit information to the service centre, indicating what betting data is stored in its memory. This allows a situation to be corrected, wherein the service centre has lost information about the betting data transmitted with the mobile station.

Accordingly, the embodiment of FIG. 4 refers to a solution wherein the amount of event data to be transmitted in connection with the actual betting remains relatively low because of the relatively large amount of permanent data transmitted in advance. This helps to minimize the total amount of data to be transmitted since, at best, it is sufficient to transmit permanent data only once to the mobile station during one ice-hockey season, for example. The amount of event data to be transmitted in connection with betting events is extremely low, since, in practice, it is sufficient that the event data generally refers to the permanent data transmitted to the mobile station in a manner allowing the application of the mobile station to correctly display the betting objects to the user. In addition, capacity of the communication network used is also saved in connection with a betting event when there is need to transmit betting data to all users of the service centre whose service profiles fit the betting object. In this case, the amount of betting data generated from the event data is very low, allowing the onetime loading of the network to be minimized. Such a mode of operation speeds up data transfer in a wireless network, wherein the data transfer capacity is limited, thus enhancing the ease of use for the end user.

It is to be understood that the above specification and the related figures are only intended to illustrate the present invention. Different variations and modifications of the invention are apparent to those skilled in the art, without deviating from the scope of protection of the invention.