US 20030078886 A1
A system, method, and computer program for tracking billable events occurring on wireless devices on a wireless network and billing the appropriate parties. The billable events occur from the end-users of the wireless devices selectively communicating with other computer devices across the wireless network and downloading and executing software applications thereupon. The billable event data is ultimately gathered at a server on the wireless network from which billing for the wireless device billable events can be generated.
1. A system for distributing applications over a wireless network, comprising:
a centralized processor operable to perform administrative functions associated with downloading an application to a wireless device;
a local processor connected to the centralized processor and operable to receive catalog data and the application from the centralized processor, to transmit the catalog and application to the wireless device, and to record transaction data associated with the transmission of the application; and
a transaction history server connected to the centralized processor and the local processor and operable to receive metadata information from the centralized processor, receive transaction data from the local processor, and processor the metadata information and transaction data for billing.
2. An apparatus as disclosed herein.
3. A method as disclosed herein.
 This application claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 60/312,737, filed Aug. 15, 2001, pending, which application is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
 I. Field of the Invention
 The present invention generally relates to data networks and computer communications and processing. More particularly, the invention relates to the interfacing between systems, transaction processing and billing, and product negotiation and management.
 II. Description of the Related Art
 Wireless devices, such as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants (“PDAs”), pagers, laptops with wireless connectivity, etc., communicate packets including voice and data over a wireless network. These wireless devices have installed application programming interfaces (“APIs”) onto their local computer platform that allow software developers to create software applications that operate on the wireless device. The API sits between the wireless device system software and the software application, making the wireless device functionality available to the application without requiring the software developer to have the specific wireless device system source code.
 The software applications can come pre-loaded at the time the wireless telephone is manufactured, or the user may later request that additional programs be downloaded over cellular telecommunication carrier networks, where the downloaded applications are executable on the wireless telephone. As a result, users of wireless telephones can customize their wireless telephones through the selective downloading of applications, such as games, printed media, stock updates, news, or any other type of information or application that is available for download through the wireless network. In order to manage the cellular telephone resources, the user of the wireless telephone purposefully deletes applications and data from the wireless telephone platform to clear storage space so that new applications can be loaded onto the cleared storage.
 In contrast to the larger computer platforms of personal computers and PDAs, wireless devices have limited resources, such as storage and processing, to devote to non-essential applications. Typically, the telecommunication applications have priority of usage of the system resources, with other applications allocated resources as available. The wireless device thus only has a limited capacity for holding all files for applications, and the managing of resources is left up to the discretion of user of the telephone to delete applications to make room for new applications desired downloaded to the wireless device. The wireless device will not otherwise download an application that it does not have the resources to hold and execute.
 Applications, and other data, that will be downloaded to a wireless device will require billing processing. Downloading applications, content or other transactions that occur with a wireless device take up resources on a network. A carrier, in the case of a wireless network, will want to record these transactions and bill for it appropriately.
 In the case with voice, a carrier only needs to keep track of the amount of time the wireless device is used on the network and bill for the minutes of use. With data, however, the billing paradigm may be different. Carriers may bill for the download or use of a data application separate from how much time it takes on the carrier's network to download the application. To bill for these transactions, the specific transaction will need to be accounted for and billed, not just the amount of time used on the network to perform the transaction.
 In addition, with applications, there may be multiple party settlements involved who share in the fee for the billed transaction. For example with an application download transaction, a carrier and a developer may share the download transaction fee incurred by the wireless device. In other cases, such as with downloading content, the carrier, a content provider and/or a third party involved may get part of the fee incurred by the wireless device's use of that content. Consequently, tracking, billing, and maintaining who shares in the fee for the multitude of transactions that occur becomes quite complex. This becomes even more complex when an extremely high number of transactions that may occur on a carrier's network, with thousands, if not millions, of wireless devices performing numerous transactions each.
 Additionally, wireless devices typically need to communicate with other systems and databases within the other systems. Unfortunately, the wireless device may lose a signal during communication or be otherwise unavailable when transmitting information to other systems. This may cause errors when attempting to access a database when the signal is lost. The wireless device may be required to reinitiate the database access and resubmit the database request when the signal is reacquired.
 Extended beyond wireless devices, often wire-based systems need to communicate with each other but do not share a similar “language” for communication. For example, as with wireless devices, one system may need to communicate with the database in another system to receive or insert data. To communicate with the database, the system must be aware of the database language, record and field structures, and formats in order to access and store information in the database. While current technologies provide for the ability for the interface between the system and the database to include the language, structure and format of the database, this becomes more complex when multiple databases, possibly requiring multiple unique database languages, etc., need to be accessed.
 Furthermore, when data is to be sent to multiple systems, or conversely received from multiple systems, a common interface does not exist to integrate across the multiple systems to simplify the data transmission. This is problematic for systems communicating with several other systems.
 Current methods in the art do not address this need. Database replication services and custom built database interfaces can become very complex and unwieldy if multiple databases need to be accessed. In addition, all systems that access the custom database must have that interface. Also, custom built databases are required to stay online for transactions to occur.
 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) only addresses the need for pre-defined message types and content specific to electronic commerce. The EDI message formats do not address the data exchange needs as it relates to wireless services, system integration considerations and billing specificity.
 In addition, products offered for use by the wireless device require negotiation between parties who created the product and the carriers who's networks will transmit the product to the wireless devices. As the product list and number of carriers and wireless devices capable of using the product increases, the negotiation of the product parameters, such as prices, becomes more complex and the managing of all the product offerings and agreed to prices become much more difficult.
 Therefore what is needed in the art are systems and methods to address the above recognized shortcomings in the art.
 Systems and methods consistent with the present invention overcome the shortcomings of existing systems by providing systems and methods for interfacing between systems, transaction processing and billing, and product negotiation and management.
 In one embodiment of the present invention, a method comprises a method as disclosed herein.
 In another embodiment of the present invention, an apparatus comprises an apparatus as disclosed here.
 Other objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become apparent after review of the hereinafter set forth Brief Description of the Drawings, Detailed Description of the Invention, and the Claims.