|Publication number||US20050187786 A1|
|Application number||US 11/112,621|
|Publication date||Aug 25, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 22, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 22, 2000|
|Also published as||US6907465|
|Publication number||11112621, 112621, US 2005/0187786 A1, US 2005/187786 A1, US 20050187786 A1, US 20050187786A1, US 2005187786 A1, US 2005187786A1, US-A1-20050187786, US-A1-2005187786, US2005/0187786A1, US2005/187786A1, US20050187786 A1, US20050187786A1, US2005187786 A1, US2005187786A1|
|Original Assignee||Tsai Daniel E.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (8), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to electronic commerce.
Computers are often used to store and maintain databases. Databases can be of many types. One type of database stores data in tabular form, e.g., relational databases. Other databases include hierarchical databases and flat-file structures that are similar to a table or a spreadsheet. Another type of database is the so-called object-oriented database.
The world-wide-web stores information in resources that can be found through an address such as a uniform resource locator (URL). Wireless devices are also known for use with the Internet. Data exchange with wired of wireless devices involves transmission of data via E-mail address or web pages. Such data transmission can be secure, but data regarding personal preferences can be obtained by host systems whether or not intended.
According to an aspect of the present invention, a method of notifying users of electronic services includes dynamically matching custom information stored on distributed databases with information that users hold in a user device on topics of interest.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a client device includes a computing device that executes computer instructions and a database of personal interests. The client device also includes a process that either offers and/or requests services and information based on personal interests of a user. The process includes a process to wrap content with control information designating ownership of the content, the time span the content is valid, and rules specifying how content is to be matched.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a system to enable a person to interact in both a physical world and an electronic world includes a server that delivers news and information. The electronic world has virtual stores and enables online interactions through wired and wireless networks. The system also includes a client user device. The client user device includes a database of personal interests and a process that either offers and/or requests services and information based on the personal interests. The process includes a process to wrap content with control information designating ownership of the content, the time span the content is valid, and rules specifying how content is to be matched.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a server system includes a matching process that matches information from a client with information from other hosts that are also sending information to the server. The matching process includes matching wrapper information from a received capsule, the wrapper information including information that determines the use of the information content of the capsule.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a method for conducting commerce where information and services are provided to customers includes selectively activating shareable database capsules from information contained in personalized, shared databases. The method also includes distributing the shareable capsules over a network communications medium as matchable capsules, matching the matchable capsules with other complementary matchable capsules and making the existence and results of a match of a pair of matchable capsules visible only if matched capsules have compatible visibility settings.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a method for maintaining privacy in exchange of data includes attaching a directional visibility flag to a request or offer for information or services and distributing the request or offer. The method also includes matching the visibility setting of a request or offer to complementary items in a complementary one of the request or offer. The method also includes processing the match in accordance with the visibility specification to prevent any information about the existence or results of the match from being communicated to contrary to the visibility flags.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a computer readable medium stores a data structure. The data structure represents a shareable database capsule including a content field that contains offers and requests for information and services and a transmittal information field that contains information to control the distribution, matching and privacy of the sharing of the database capsule.
According to an additional aspect of the present invention, a system includes a server that includes a matching process that matches information from a client with information from other hosts that are also sending information to the server. The matching process includes a matching process to match wrapper information from a received capsule, where the wrapper information includes information that determines the use of the information content of the capsule. The system also includes a client user device to interact with the server device. The client user device includes a database of personal interests and a process that either offers and/or requests services and information based on the personal interests. The process includes a process to wrap content with control information designating ownership of the content, the time span the content is valid, and rules specifying how content is to be matched.
One or more aspects of the invention may have one or more of the following advantages.
The invention connects people and electronic services by dynamically matching custom information stored on distributed databases. Users hold information on topics of interest. The information can be accumulated and organized over time, produced or collected from various sources and carried on a fixed computing device, or portable computing device like a personal digital assistant (PDA) or cell phone. People can specify interests in hobbies, dining preferences, research topics, news, social and cultural interests, personal information like clothing sizes, or activities to participate in. Companies and other organizations can supply information on products and services, useful facts, and other information in response to requests for such information or as a general broadcast of information.
The basic content of the information is wrapped with information about its owner, the time span it will be valid, its audience, what pieces of information are to be matched, what information is to be filled in, and what other actions are to occur if a match occurs. These data capsules can be expressed as small fragments of information used to locate and obtain further information.
This system is suited, in particular, to mobile computing and communications situations because browsing, i.e., interacting with a device in a changing mobile environment is highly limited. Instead of browsing for information e.g., browsing the web, or receiving preset data channels, users (mobile and fixed) specify requests or offers for information and services by sharing pieces of personalized databases. The information shared in the course of interaction is shielded via privacy features.
The invention enables users to control publication and dissemination of personal, e.g., profile information, thus preventing hosts from knowing preferences ahead of time and channeling information to the user. The invention enables users to manage their own databases of information and specify or focus information that is of interest. A user's temporal interest can be related to a user's current physical location. Information is sent to a matching process that tries to match the information with information that a host provides. The matching process can be an intermediary service or a peer-to-peer process. An intermediary matching server or process can be controlled such that the host may never see private information even though its been analyzed by the intermediary.
A person occupies a location 17 in the physical world and interacts with the virtual world 14 through a computer, a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) or other types of electronic devices collectively referred to as a client device 16. In some embodiments, portable, digital client devices 16 are used to interface a person between virtual and physical worlds. In arrangement 10, the client devices 16 contain a database that can hold a person's preferences and interests. The database is stored in computer readable form within the device 16. The electronic world 14 offers information or services to the person. The device 16 includes an executable process 20 that associates these three realms in a useful manner.
The wireless client device, e.g., a PDA 16 a, is shown connected in a network comprised of servers 24, desktop PCs 26, networked appliances 31, wireless receiver servers 28, and smart telephones 30. That is, the electronic world 14 includes wireless and fixed servers 24, 26 and 28 on a network 29. The devices 16, if wireless, have a wireless transmission 27 to the receiver servers 28, which are connected to the internet.
Each device 16, 24, 26, 28, etc. has shareable databases 36. Each device 16, 24, 26, and 28, either offers and/or requests services and information from others of the devices 16, 24, 26, and 28. Information capsules about each shared database are distributed across the network to client wired and wireless devices 16. A server 34 with a match process 32 is shown, although this process can be run in any of the aforementioned devices.
Devices 16 that are local to a person's physical location can communicate via close range bandwidths and protocols directly or over a local network in a peer to peer or client server manner. Devices 16 that connect into a global network can use standard communications transmissions for such devices, e.g., Internet and wireless Internet protocols.
The physical location 17 of the client device 16 (or servers) can be part of the information that informs the device or a matching process 32 on a matching server 34 what kind of services are provided or are relevant to the person. For example, the location of a wireless client maybe known as part of the standard protocol for the device. Entities that comprise the physical environment such as stores, hospital, library and so forth have electronic presence also through servers 24 that exist in the virtual world 14.
Stores, machines and other people also have a physical location 17′, as well as an electronic'presence. In this scenario, the person's client device 16, via a communication process (described below), shares information about the person's interests and physical location, across the network 29. Instead of asking a particular source for an answer, the request for information is formed in a more general manner and matched to information offered over the network 29. The responses may take into account the person's physical location, time and context, and relate to items in both physical and electronic realms.
The client device 16 has a small screen 40 that displays topics of interest 41, a reply item of interest 42, with a small map 42 b to get to the place shown 42 a. For example, a restaurant whose physical location is at the same general location as the person also has a server 24 that sends information to the display 40 on the client device 16.
The personal information that is stored on the client device 16 is communicated to the host telecommunications device 28. The information can be stored in the client device 16 or could be stored on a private server and host machines could query the private server. A matching host 34 receives the communicated information. The matching host includes a matching process 32 that is coupled to the network 29.
An offer or request is packaged 74 with parameters used to control distribution and privacy of the information as it is distributed among computers. The requests and offers are optionally stored 76 in personalized databases containing other topics. Each item within a collective can be selectively activated for sharing based on time, location or other factors. Selected offers and requests are actively distributed 80 into the computing environment. This can be a local interaction between two local devices or via a network. The offers and requests are collected by a variety of machines and compared 82 with information contained within these devices. A matching process 32 is conducted to match corresponding and/or complementary offers and requests. Responses 84 for matched offers and requests are sent to parties based on mutually compatible privacy and distribution settings.
As a result of matching 82, a process can be used to refine 83 a query back to the client or host/server systems until there is a suitable match. For example, if asking for restaurants, a refinement process can include sending a modified inquiry that requests information by subtype of restaurant to reduce the answer size.
Very private information can be handled via local sensing 78 instead of distribution. Once the information is matched and filled either locally or remotely an adequate response is obtained 84. The response can be transmitted and include information, a service, or a referral. The response typically comes from the host. The response is queued and results are displayed on the client device 16. Items within the databases are focused, i.e., selected based on interests of the user expressed in the received capsule. The selection process can be performed automatically through time and location settings for any item. A client device 16 can share focused items over via trusted hosts that perform comparisons, as will be described below.
Matches for shared topics 41 are the result of content 44 that has shareable, matchable, and fillable elements. The topic “Lunch” 41 b has contents 44 that are tabular 45 with attributes 45 a and blank field values (i.e., slots) to fill 45 b. In this example, the content setup record with attribute “Place” and blank value 45 c, is matched and shown as “Place: Dan's Sea Grill”. Similarly, the values for the attributes “Reservations” 45 d, “Location” 45 e, “Hours” 45 f, and “Specials” 45 g are filled in and shown in the match 42, with lines 45 d′, 45 e′, 45 f′, 45 g′ respectively.
A second example match 42′ is shown with topic “Coffee for friends” 41 d. Whereas the match displayed for “Lunch” 41 b is tabular, with attributes and filled in values, the match shown for 42′ is free form text 46, also with tagged values 46 b filled in 46 c.
Thus, referring back to
The device 16 a determines how and whether information is transmitted. The information is collected and personalized to specify information and services to request or offer. An offer or request is sent 80 in a peer-to-peer or client-server environment. Some information based on personalization in the client is sent from the device 16 a to the matching server 34. The information is matched with a variety of different services from other hosts that are also sending information to the server 34. The information sent by the servers can either be in the physical area of the client or they can be services that are generic services, which do not have a physical presence in the physical location occupied 17 the client.
TABLE 1 Entity Transmittal type Mode On (topic) Audience 1 Person Requests Information Place to dine Restaurant, tour guide, friends 2 Person Requests Activity Meeting with co-worker My company 3 Person Requests Information Train schedule Transit authority 4 Person Requests Connection Conversation with friend Friend 5 Person Offers Connection Conversation with friend Friend 6 Retail Store Offers Information Products for sale Person 7 Retail Store Offers Information Hours open Person 8 Retail Store Offers Information Store location person 9 Company Offers Information Catalog of products Person or company 10 Company Offers Information Services available Person or company 11 Company Requests Transaction Purchase of products Company 12 Museum Offers Information Exhibitions Person 13 Restaurant Offers Information Menu Person 14 Restaurant Requests Activity reservation Person or company 15 Restaurant Offers Information Specials of the day Person 16 Restaurant Offers Information location Person 17 Bank Offers Calculation Mortgage rate Person 18 Bank Offers Information Accounts available Person or company 19 Credit card Offers Transaction Credit purchase/sale Person or company company 20 Credit card Offers Information Promotional interest rate Person company 21 News Offers Information Financial news Person organization 22 News Requests Information Survey question Person organization 23 Hotel Offers Information Rooms for the night Person 24 Hotel Requests Activity Room reservation person 25 Transit Offers Information Train schedules anyone authority 26 Search engine Offers Information Web page links Person
Examples of shared topics are shown in TABLE 1. These topics are descriptive example listings within shared databases 36 owned by people, stores, companies, museums, restaurants, and other traditional 12 a and electronic entities 14. Each shared topic is a request or offer for information or service, on a particular topic and for an audience. For example, a person may request information on dining. In contrast, a person may also request to meet with a co-worker. The first is a request for information, the second example is a request for an activity to occur. Requests and offers may be satisfied, i.e., matched with information and services from sources that change with location or context. The specification of audience, as will be described in detail later, is not limited to a specific person, company or URL, but in general terms that can be assigned during processing. In the present example, information on dining may be filled by offers for information from restaurant guides, newspapers, individual restaurants, and even personal sources such as friends. The matches will depend on part on the narrowness or broadness of the audience allowed. This is set by each shared element's owner and is matched to a complementary element if found. In such a situation, companies and other public entities may target their information and services to a broad audience or a very specific audience—such as tourists or shoppers, while individuals may target their shared elements in a manner more selective and personal manner.
Each shared offering or request, as exemplified in Table 1, is a small expression that can persist over time and is collected and disseminated electronically. As such, this data is an extension of a person or organization into an electronic arena, to be inspected 90, matched 100, stored 102 and relayed 94. Various participants will make offerings and requests in varying degrees of privacy. For example, the offering of a store sale is a public announcement meant to reach a broad audience, while the interest of a potential customer is a private inquiry. A potential customer may even want to be totally anonymous and ‘window shop’. Privacy in this system has many facets, including the privacy of identity, of expressed interest, of transmission, information and processing. Methods for controlling the privacy during such a sharing process will be described below.
TABLE 2 Dinner with 1.0 Person Requests Activity friends friends 1.1 Requests Information Popular places Restaurant to dine guide 1.2 Requests Information Cuisine friends preferences 1.3 Requests Activity Reservation Restaurant
Table 2 shows how individual shared elements an be combined to make a more complex ‘scenario’. For example, a person's request for dinner with friends may break down to requests for information about places to dine, types of cuisine preferred, and reservations. These individual requests (or offers) may be directed to different audiences and have other different traits, but act as a unit.
As shown in Table 3, various types of requests and offers for information and services are shown.
TABLE 3 Mode\Nature Request to Offer to Information Request to receive Offer to provide information information such as on a on topics. Sites and search topic or from a person or engines could provide this organization. content. Transact Request to perform a Offer to perform a transaction transaction between 2 or between 2 or more parties, more parties resulting in a resulting in a contractual contractual exchange. exchange. Connect Request to connect to a Offer to connect to a service. service, such as a news channel, discussion, or activity. Relay Request to relay Offer to act as intermediary information across to relay information from networks, to people, one party to another. machines across gateways. Store Request to have Offer to provide storage of information stored. information. Calculate Request to have a Offer to perform a calculation. calculation performed. Other Request for custom service. Offer for custom service.
For example, a shared capsule can offer information on a topic with a request for information on a topic (request to receive or offer to send). A shared capsule can also request to perform a transaction or offer to perform a particular transaction—such as a credit card transaction. The shared capsule can also offer a request to connect to a person, or a discussion group or organization or offer to satisfy this connection. The shared capsule can also request to relay information or offer to perform the associated service. The shared capsule can also offer or request to have information (contained in the contents) stored, and offer or request for a calculation to be performed.
The arrangement 10 uses the shared capsule for sharing information and for matching requests and offers for information and/or services. The arrangement 10 breaks down these activities into small granular portions of information that can be acted on. Beyond sharing information, the arrangement 10 can be used to find an available computer to perform a calculation, or the best rate to finance a purchase and sale transaction, or a server to store information. Matching of requests and offers can be extended to the matching of any set of elements. Requests and offers for information and services is one example of a two-element pairing.
The wrapper 121 (collectively fields 123) can be read and used without access to the content 122. The content 122 can be encrypted separately from its wrapping to provide added security. Individual parts of the wrapper 121 can also be encrypted separately so that only particular audiences or hosts can use this information. The ownership can be specified via a handle, to provide anonymity to the owner except to a trusted provider. The resolution of the handle can be made known only the trusted provider.
The location information is useful for mobile purposes. The data structure capsule is also encapsulated in information that pertains to a transmission protocol e.g., TCP/IP, etc., used to transmit the capsule to servers or other devices.
For tabular content 249, the process compares 249 a the database schema of the content. Since schemas from different sources may be problematic, a flexible comparison of tables, fields, and relationships may enable a mapping 249 b in order to satisfy some requests. The process will run 249 c a query based on the mapped schemas.
The content can also take the form of a fragment database 251, as described below. Such a database defines information as fragmented objects, in terms of classifications, instance names, attributes, values, actions, conditions and containers. The process 246 then evaluates 253 if the representation is su ted for sharing and matching information.
TABLE 4 Internal\External IN IN+ OUT OUT+ BOTH IN NO NO YES YES NO IN+ NO NO YES YES YES OUT YES YES NO NO NO OUT+ YES YES NO NO YES BOTH NO YES NO YES YES
As shown in
A store that wants to offer goods and services 276 to as broad an audience as possible, would set 276 b the visibility method as “NOTIFY OUT.” A store that wanted to know who would like to know information about visitors would set 276 c NOTIFY OUT+, to receive information if available. If a store or person desired a mutual exchange of information 278, a sent capsule would have the more restricting NOTIFY BOTH visibility method set 278 a. This method would require an exchange of information.
The visibility setting for each shared data package can be determined by its intended purpose. If the purpose is to receive information and services, then the visibility is to be directed IN-ward. If outside visibility is not permitted while receiving information, then the visibility is set to “IN.” If outside visibility is needed in order to receive information, then Visibility is set to “IN+.”
If the purpose is to offer information and services, then the visibility is to be directed OUT-ward. If no information needs to be returned, i.e., the audience who receives such information is not identified, then visibility is set to “OUT.” If identification of audience is desired if allowed, then visibility is set to “OUT+.” If an exchange is desired between multiple parties with equal visibility, then visibility is set to “BOTH.”
Other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.
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|International Classification||G06Q30/00, G06F15/16|
|Cooperative Classification||G06Q30/02, G06Q30/0601|
|European Classification||G06Q30/02, G06Q30/0601|