Title:
Data Session Synchronization With Phone Numbers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for administering a communication session includes initiating a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number, associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session, and sending a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.



Inventors:
Bailey, Mark (Glendora, CA, US)
Christensen, James E. (Cortlandt Manor, NY, US)
Ellis, Jason B. (New York, NY, US)
Farrell, Robert G. (Cornwall, NY, US)
Application Number:
13/052488
Publication Date:
09/27/2012
Filing Date:
03/21/2011
Assignee:
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION (Armonk, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
H04W4/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KARIKARI, KWASI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CANTOR COLBURN LLP-IBM YORKTOWN (Hartford, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for administering a communication session, the method including: initiating a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number; associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session; and sending a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further includes: receiving a second message from the user device, the second message sent from the user phone number to the first session state phone number; identifying a current session state associated with the user phone number and the first session phone number; and processing the second message.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the initiation of the session includes: receiving an initiation message from the user device, the message sent from the user phone number to a session state phone number associated with session initiation; and initiating the session responsive to receiving the initiation message.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the initiation message includes a textual portion indicative of a type of session initiation.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the initiation message includes a voice portion indicative of a type of session initiation.

6. The method of claim 4, wherein the textual portion is entered by a user.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein the voice portion is entered by a user.

8. The method of claim 2, wherein the method further includes: responsive to processing the second message, associating the user phone number and a second session state phone number with a third state of the session; and sending a second message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the second message sent from the second session state phone number to the user phone number.

9. A system for administering a communications session, the system comprising a server including a processor operative to initiate a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number, associate the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session, and send a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the processor is further operative to receive a second message from the user device, the second message sent from the user phone number to the first session state phone number, identify a current session state associated with the user phone number and the first session phone number, and process the second message.

11. The system of claim 9, wherein the initiation of the session includes: receiving an initiation message from the user device, the message sent from the user phone number to a session state phone number associated with session initiation; and initiating the session responsive to receiving the initiation message.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the initiation message includes a textual portion indicative of a type of session initiation.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the textual portion is entered by a user.

14. The system of claim 9, wherein the method further includes: responsive to processing the second message, associating the user phone number and a second session state phone number with a third state of the session; and sending a second message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the second message sent from the second session state phone number to the user phone number.

15. The system of claim 9, wherein the server is connected to the user device via a communications network.

16. The system of claim 9, wherein the user device is a mobile telephone device.

17. A non-transitory computer-readable storage medium including computer executable instructions that, when executed on a processor of a computer apparatus, direct the processor to perform a method for dynamically adjusting a hardware event counting time-slice window, the method comprising: initiating a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number; associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session; and sending a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

18. The computer-readable storage medium of claim 17, wherein the method further includes: receiving a second message from the user device, the second message sent from the user phone number to the first session state phone number; identifying a current session state associated with the user phone number and the first session phone number; and processing the second message.

19. The computer-readable storage medium of claim 17, wherein the initiation of the session includes: receiving an initiation message from the user device, the message sent from the user phone number to a session state phone number associated with session initiation; and initiating the session responsive to receiving the initiation message.

20. The computer-readable storage medium of claim 19, wherein the initiation message includes a textual portion indicative of a type of session initiation.

21. The computer-readable storage medium of claim 20, wherein the textual portion is entered by a user.

22. The computer-readable storage medium of claim 17, wherein the method further includes: responsive to processing the second message, associating the user phone number and a second session state phone number with a third state of the session; and sending a second message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the second message sent from the second session state phone number to the user phone number.

23. A method for administering a communication session, the method including: receiving a message from a user device, the message associated with a user phone number associated with the user device; associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session such that the user phone number and the first session state phone number uniquely identify the state of the session; and saving the user phone number, the first session state phone number, and the associated state of the session in a memory.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to sending and receiving data over a phone network, and more specifically, to data sessions using phone numbers.

Though the functions of available mobile telephone devices continue to advance, there are significant numbers of users who utilize mobile telephone devices with limited functions or features. For example, in contrast to “smart phones” millions of mobile telephone device users use simple mobile telephone devices with voice and texting/short message service (SMS), but with limited alternative communications features.

BRIEF SUMMARY

According to one embodiment of the present invention, a method for administering a communication session includes initiating a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number, associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session, and sending a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a system for administering a communications session includes a server including a processor operative to initiate a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number, associate the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session, and send a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

According to yet another embodiment of the present invention a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium including computer executable instructions that, when executed on a processor of a computer apparatus, direct the processor to perform a method for dynamically adjusting a hardware event counting time-slice window, the method includes initiating a session between a server and a user device, the user device associated with a user phone number, associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session, and sending a first message associated with the state of the session from the server to the user device, the first message sent from the first session state phone number to the user phone number.

According to yet another embodiment of the present invention a method for administering a communication session includes receiving a message from a user device, the message associated with a user phone number associated with the user device, associating the user phone number and a first session state phone number with a state of the session such that the user phone number and the first session state phone number uniquely identify the state of the session, and saving the user phone number, the first session state phone number, and the associated state of the session in a memory.

Additional features and advantages are realized through the techniques of the present invention. Other embodiments and aspects of the invention are described in detail herein and are considered a part of the claimed invention. For a better understanding of the invention with the advantages and the features, refer to the description and to the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The forgoing and other features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a system.

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an example of a portion of a session.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a session state table.

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate a block diagram of an exemplary method for initiating and processing a session with the system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In many mobile telephone service areas, some users may utilize voice features and texting or SMS features, but may not use other data services due to device or network limitations, or the cost of wireless data transmission over the networks. The illustrated embodiments described below allow a user to interact with a server in a session to perform a variety of tasks using text messaging or voice messaging features. Though the illustrated embodiments describe texting or SMS services, one of ordinary skill in the art would understand that any type similar messaging service including voice messaging, which may be in some embodiments converted to textual messages or processed with voice recognition methods may be used in a similar manner as described below.

Users of a messaging-capable mobile telephone device wanting to utilize a data service may send messages to or receive messages from a server. A session is initiated (and may be also completed) during the exchange of messages. A session may be variously known as a conversation, a dialogue, or a connection. The server maintains the state of the session. The server communicates the state to the device and then at later time the device communicates the state back to the server, allowing the service to be performed according to the communicated state. The state could be sent as part of the message and then the message returned to the server, but has the disadvantage that the state becomes part of the message, reducing the space for message data. Therefore, a way is needed to communicate the state of a session to a simple telephone device.

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a system 100. The system 100 includes a server or processor 102 that is communicatively connected to a memory or database 104, a display device 106, and an input device 108. The server 102 is communicatively connected to a user device 110 that may include, for example, a mobile phone or other type of user device via a communications network 101. Though the illustrated embodiment includes one user device 110, the system 100 may include any number of user devices 110. The server 102 is operative to receive messages sent from the user device 110 that may be addressed to one or more phone numbers associated with the server 102. For example, the user device may send a message to the server 102 by addressing the message to a particular phone number. The server 102 receives the message that includes the phone number of the sender; the phone number that the message was sent to; and the content of the message.

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an example of a portion of a session “A” that allows a user to pay their water bill using the system 100 (of FIG. 1). A session may include, for example, any type of data exchange between at least one user device and a server. A session may be initiated by, for example, either the server 102, the user device 110, or in some embodiments, another processor. In this regard, the user device 110 sends a session start message to the server 102 via a phone number initially known by the user (PN0) (e.g., “555-BILL”). An example message received by the server includes the phone number of the sending user device (UN1), the phone number associated with the session initiation PN0, and the content line “Pay my water bill,” or more generally <sender number; recipient number; message content>. When initiating a session, the server 102 may use the PN0 number, the UN1, the content line, or any combination of these elements to identify the session that will be initiated. For example, the PN0 may be uniquely associated with the pay water bill session, thus a message received from a user device 110 that has been sent to PN0 will initiate the pay water bill session. Alternatively, the server may also use the content of the message (e.g., “Pay my water bill” or “Pay my electricity bill”) to identify the session by logically determining that the user would like to pay their water bill or another type of bill depending on the message content. In the illustrated example, the message received by the server 102 has been sent to PN0. The receipt of this message defines a session state A:1 in block 202. The session state A:1 may, for example, be associated with a request to initiate a session. In block 204, the server 102 starts the session and sends a request for a credit card number to the user, which defines session state A:2. The credit card number is received from the user in block 206, which defines session state A:3. In block 208, in session state, A:4, the server 102 sends a request for a security code to the user device 110. The security code is received from the user device 110 in block 210, defining session state A:5. In block 212, the server 110 processes the card number in session state A:6). In block 214, the server determines whether the card processing was successful. If yes, in block 216, the server 102 sends a confirmation message to the user device 110 in session state A:7. If no, an error message is sent to the user device 110 in block 218, session state A:8.

To properly administer the session, the server 102 tracks the state of the session by associating phone numbers with session states. FIG. 3 illustrates an example of a session state table 300. The session state table 300 includes a user device phone number field, a session state phone number field, and a session state identifier field. The operation of the session state table 300 will be further described below. A session state phone number includes a phone number associated with a particular session state.

FIGS. 4A and 4B illustrate a block diagram of an exemplary method for initiating and processing a session with the system 100 (of FIG. 1). In this regard, in block 402, a message is received by the server 102 from the user device 110. The message includes the user device phone number UN1; the session initiation phone number PN0 (i.e., a phone number associated with the server 102 and/or a session orchestrated by the server 102); and a textual message “Pay my water bill” encoded as the tuple <UN1; PN0; Pay my water bill>. In block 404, the server 102 identifies the session type (e.g. session A, of FIG. 2) and initiates the session. In block 406, the server 102 identifies the session state (e.g., A:2) and prepares to send a request for a credit card number to the user by selecting an available phone number from a pool of phone numbers reserved for use by the server 102 where the pool of phone numbers includes PN0-PNn−1. In block 408 the server 102 uses the session state table 300 (of FIG. 3) to determine whether the selected phone number (PN1) has been associated with the user device 110 phone number UN1 in the present session or any other session. If a phone number is not available or cannot be selected then an error state is flagged. If the selected phone number PN1 has been previously associated with the UN1, a different number is selected by the server 102, in block 410. In block 412, once an unassociated phone number is selected, the number is associated with the current session state and the user device 110 phone number and saved in the table 300 as the session state phone number. In block 414, a message associated with the current session state is sent to the user device 110 via the selected phone number (e.g., <PN1; UN1; Please provide your credit card number>). A response from the user device 110 with the credit card number is received by the server in block 416 (e.g., <UN1; PN1; xxxxxxxxxx09005>). In block 418, the server 102 identifies the session state using the table 300 and the UN1; PN1 fields in the message. In the illustrated example, the message received from UN1 sent to the number PN1 indicates that sessions A:2 and A:3 have been completed. In block 420, the action associated with the current session state may be performed (e.g., saving the received credit card number) and the session may progress to the next applicable session state (e.g., sending a request for a security code to user A:4) In the illustrated example, another phone number may be associated with the next session state (A:4) for the next message (e.g., <PN2; UN1; Please provide security code>) that will be sent to the user device 110.

The combination of the user phone number and the session state phone number allows the server 102 to identify the session state for any number of sessions for any number of users. Referring to FIG. 3, a session state B:4 has been associated with UN1 and PN5, which would, for example, identify a different session (i.e., Session B) associated with the user device 110 using the phone number UN1. The illustrated example also includes, another user device 110 having a phone number UN2 that is associated with the session state A:1 and the session state phone number PN0. Since the user phone numbers (UN1 and UN2) are different, the same session state phone number PN0) may be associated with different users to identify associated session states.

The technical effects and benefits of the illustrated embodiments allow a server to identify and track the states of multiple sessions between the server and any number of users using a combination of the phone number of the user and phone numbers associated by the server with states of the sessions.

As will be appreciated by one skilled in the art, aspects of the present invention may be embodied as a system, method or computer program product. Accordingly, aspects of the present invention may take the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment (including firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.) or an embodiment combining software and hardware aspects that may all generally be referred to herein as a “circuit,” “module” or “system.” Furthermore, aspects of the present invention may take the form of a computer program product embodied in one or more computer readable medium(s) having computer readable program code embodied thereon. Any combination of one or more computer readable medium(s) may be utilized. The computer readable medium may be a computer readable signal medium or a computer readable storage medium. A computer readable storage medium may be, for example, but not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared, or semiconductor system, apparatus, or device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. More specific examples (a non-exhaustive list) of the computer readable storage medium would include the following: an electrical connection having one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a hard disk, a random access memory (RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM or Flash memory), an optical fiber, a portable compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM), an optical storage device, a magnetic storage device, or any suitable combination of the foregoing. In the context of this document, a computer readable storage medium may be any tangible medium that can contain, or store a program for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.

A computer readable signal medium may include a propagated data signal with computer readable program code embodied therein, for example, in baseband or as part of a carrier wave. Such a propagated signal may take any of a variety of forms, including, but not limited to, electro-magnetic, optical, or any suitable combination thereof. A computer readable signal medium may be any computer readable medium that is not a computer readable storage medium and that can communicate, propagate, or transport a program for use by or in connection with an instruction execution system, apparatus, or device.

Program code embodied on a computer readable medium may be transmitted using any appropriate medium, including but not limited to wireless, wireline, optical fiber cable, RF, etc., or any suitable combination of the foregoing.

Computer program code for carrying out operations for aspects of the present invention may be written in any combination of one or more programming languages, including an object oriented programming language such as Java, Smalltalk, C++ or the like and conventional procedural programming languages, such as the “C” programming language or similar programming languages. The program code may execute entirely on the user's computer, partly on the user's computer, as a stand-alone software package, partly on the user's computer and partly on a remote computer or entirely on the remote computer or server. In the latter scenario, the remote computer may be connected to the user's computer through any type of network, including a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), or the connection may be made to an external computer (for example, through the Internet using an Internet Service Provider).

Aspects of the present invention are described below with reference to flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams of methods, apparatus (systems) and computer program products according to embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that each block of the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, and combinations of blocks in the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These computer program instructions may be provided to a processor of a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute via the processor of the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus, create means for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer readable medium that can direct a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer readable medium produce an article of manufacture including instructions which implement the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other programmable data processing apparatus, or other devices to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other devices to produce a computer implemented process such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable apparatus provide processes for implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks. The flowchart and block diagrams in the Figures illustrate the architecture, functionality, and operation of possible implementations of systems, methods and computer program products according to various embodiments of the present invention. In this regard, each block in the flowchart or block diagrams may represent a module, segment, or portion of code, which comprises one or more executable instructions for implementing the specified logical function(s). It should also be noted that, in some alternative implementations, the functions noted in the block may occur out of the order noted in the figures. For example, two blocks shown in succession may, in fact, be executed substantially concurrently, or the blocks may sometimes be executed in the reverse order, depending upon the functionality involved. It will also be noted that each block of the block diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, and combinations of blocks in the block diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, can be implemented by special purpose hardware-based systems that perform the specified functions or acts, or combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.

The terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used herein, the singular forms “a”, “an” and “the” are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. It will be further understood that the terms “comprises” and/or “comprising,” when used in this specification, specify the presence of stated features, integers, steps, operations, elements, and/or components, but do not preclude the presence or addition of one more other features, integers, steps, operations, element components, and/or groups thereof.

The corresponding structures, materials, acts, and equivalents of all means or step plus function elements in the claims below are intended to include any structure, material, or act for performing the function in combination with other claimed elements as specifically claimed. The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, but is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. The embodiment was chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention and the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated

The flow diagrams depicted herein are just one example. There may be many variations to this diagram or the steps (or operations) described therein without departing from the spirit of the invention. For instance, the steps may be performed in a differing order or steps may be added, deleted or modified. All of these variations are considered a part of the claimed invention.

While the preferred embodiment to the invention had been described, it will be understood that those skilled in the art, both now and in the future, may make various improvements and enhancements which fall within the scope of the claims which follow. These claims should be construed to maintain the proper protection for the invention first described.





 
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