Often, for various reasons, some within and some beyond the control of a traveler or a business person, appointments cannot be kept on time. For example, a traveler may be victim of transportation system delays. In other cases, a delay at an appointment may be due to a meeting that is important and cannot be cut short running past its anticipated ending time. In any case, appointments and meeting times are often wasted when one party does not attend, resulting in, at the least, annoyance and inconvenience for the other attendee(s), and sometimes resulting in more serious damaging consequences.
In some cases, a GPS-dependent method and system known to the inventor may be used to notify other parties and to adjust schedules as needed. In other cases, however, the traveler does not have a GPS phone, and therefore using the system of the previously cited invention is not possible. However, most business people traveling today have the ability to make a phone call, to send an email or an SMS, or to communicate with a digital system by some electronic means.
In addition, often a person has only a limited time to deal with planning and arranging for travel and events; however, it can and sometimes does happen that when a person, such as, for example, a business traveler on a layover between transit legs, attempts to transact the scheduling or rescheduling of events, the service provider he needs to contact is not available, due to failures and break-downs in a communication means. For example, there may be connectivity problems, data center problems, denial-of-service attacks, and so forth. The traveler, however, may be pressed for time and must make transactions at this time, because soon he will be out of contact for some time.
Travelers often need to change their schedule. In addition to travel delays and other problems of being on the road, the traveler may also have business reasons for changing his schedule, such as, for example, needing to stay an extra day or two, to close a deal that he feels is close to completion.
What is clearly needed is a system and method by which a business traveler, with a minimum of effort, can change and rearrange his schedule, for example, by extending his stay for a day, or by changing a meeting venue, etc., by interacting with the system in a way that is not very technical.DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
The disclosure is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements
Some embodiments of the present invention are summarized in this section.
One embodiment provides a method, that may be implemented on a system, for receiving from a user a request to reschedule a scheduled itinerary of events, the request received in a natural language format; passing the request through a natural language analyzer; processing results of the natural language analyzer against at least one of a current status of progress into the scheduled itinerary and profile data of the user, the profile comprising previous changes of itineraries and preferences of the user; generating one or more options in response to the user request to modify the scheduled itinerary of events, based on available options and based on the processing of the results of the natural language analyzer against at least one of current scheduled itinerary and profile data of the user; and presenting the one or more options to the user in the natural language format that ht user submitted the request.
The present disclosure includes methods and apparatuses which perform these methods, including processing systems which perform these methods, and computer readable media which when executed on processing systems cause the systems to perform these methods.
Other features of the present invention will be apparent from the accompanying drawings and from the detailed description which follows.DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In the following detailed description of embodiments of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which like references indicate similar elements, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, electrical, functional, and other changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims.
Reference in this specification to “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the disclosure. The appearances of the phrase “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. Moreover, various features are described which may be exhibited by some embodiments and not by others. Similarly, various requirements are described which may be requirements for some embodiments but not other embodiments.
Proactive Agenda Management
In some cases, importance can be derived by comparing the relative position of the person(s) to be met in the other company, and the size of the business that is done. In other cases, the user defines importance, for example on a 1-3 scale, or a 1-10 scale. Defaulting based on previous meetings may also be offered. In some cases, a post meeting review may rate the meeting and be used for future meetings as a pre-defined default, or adjusted accordingly.
In some cases, attendees will receive along with the schedule change message an option to vote their preference or decline alternatives, which may or may not be considered.
Tracking software module 305 has observed that transportation TR1 203b did not progress along path 1 from location 1 to location 2 according to schedule using a GPS function of a smart phone device, as is described below in relation to the description of
In process 404 the process branches. If the latency is not over a certain limit (no), which may be a predetermined limit or a dynamically calculated limit, the system loops to process 405, where the system waits for a predetermined period of time before continuing back to process 401 to restart. For example, a latency of 15 minutes at a meeting may be acceptable in many cases, so by calculating the current location and the remaining way, you can predict the ETA. Also, traffic condition may be used.
The delay before continuing back to process 401 provides certain granularity to the process, because the system would be over-burdened if it continually processed data on a real-time basis. For example, the system could restart the process every minute, every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes, or after any other suitable period of time. If the latency is over the limit (yes), the system moves to process 406, where it prioritizes meetings based on information obtained from database 104 (e.g., based on predefined rules, historic data and preferences).
Based on the derived priorities, in process 407 the system calculates one or more rescheduling proposals for the user and sends them to the user's communication device 420. This device could receive such a message as an SMS, an IM, an email, as a phone call with a voice interaction system, or by any other suitable means of communication. In some cases, the system could call a designated alternate, if the user does not want to be interrupted or if he is out of reach. In process 408 the user sends a response. If the user does not accept any of the system's proposals (no), the system sends a message in process 409 to other parties, informing them of expected delay times for the next event(s). If the user accepts one of the system's proposals (yes), then in process 410 the system checks arrangements to implement the proposal with other parties 106a-n and suppliers 107a-n as needed and in process 411 it goes about the necessary rebooking, canceling, or modifying services and meetings. For example, in process 410 the system may need to check a flight first, before changing an appointment, etc., in process 411.
In process 602, the rescheduling system receives the message. The system retrieves the data it needs to send out notifications, in this case from the user's PIM 512×stored in his PC 511, and/or from data repository 104. In process 603, the system matches its retrieved data to the rescheduling required by the user's delays, and, after processing this data in a similar manner as that discussed earlier, proposes certain changes, which change proposal it sends back to the user's mobile device by email or other suitable form of electronic communication. In process 604, the user selects his desired changes, such as canceling, moving, rescheduling, rebooking, etc. from those proposed by the system and sends his selections back to the system by the same electronic communication means. In process 605, the system implements the user's desired changes and sends messages notifying the other attendee(s) 106a-n and service providers 107a-n of the changes. In process 606 the user receives confirmation of the implemented changes and in process 607 the process ends.
It is clear that many modifications and variations of this embodiment may be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the novel art of this disclosure. In particular, in addition to electronic communication means such as email, SMS, IM, etc., messages may also be exchanged by means of a voice XML or IVR system or other, similar automated voice telephone system. In other cases, other suitable, similar messaging media or web interfaces may be offered for interaction with the system to achieve an exchange of information. These variations do not depart from the broader spirit and scope of the invention, and the examples cited here are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.Tentative Booking When Service Providers Are Temporarily Unavailable
The passage of time during the process is shown proceeding from top to bottom in each column. In process 701, the user sends a request for a transaction, such as, for example, booking a flight, to ESP 102. In process 702, the ESP finds a suitable service provider from among its appropriate service providers 107x-z. The ESP uses its records of user preferences for provider and scheduling and also data about appropriate and available service providers, all drawn from data in data repository 104, as well as accessing data from other sources that may be available, either from other private data stores or from data accessible over the Internet and/or other public networks (not shown).
In process 703, the system finds that the preferred service provider is not responding via electronic communication, for any of various reasons, such as a connectivity problem within the ESP or at the service provider, service-related issues, maintenance-related issues, virus- and worm-related attacks, denial of service (DOS) and similar types of attacks, etc. In such a case, in processes 704 and 705, the ESP interactively requests and takes the transaction information from the user and informs him of the problem of lack of contact with the provider. If possible, the system gives the user an estimate of the time until the lack-of-contact problem is resolved. In process 706, the ESP repeatedly retries making contact with the service provider until it can establish contact. In process 707, the ESP makes contact with the service provider, who has recovered and restarted its system in process 708.
Then in process 709, the transaction is completed and the system notifies the user. In process 710, the user receives confirmation of the transaction. It is clear that if, in process 706, the system receives no response from the selected provider for an extended period of time, the user may be notified, or after a certain time limit has elapsed, such as, for example, less than 24 hours before a planned flight departure time, or less than, for example, less than 2 hours before a car is needed, system may propose and possibly pre-book (as described in relation to the Proactive Agenda Management and Latency Management Assistant) an alternative service to the user. This offer could be made in a manner similar to the manner described in relation to Proactive Agenda Management and Latency Management Assistant.
It is clear that many modifications and variations of this embodiment may be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the novel art of this disclosure. For example, the automatic transaction software may not be integrated into the electronic service portal, but rather, it may be a stand-alone software instance made available to users by the ESP, or it may be offered by a third party to deal with communication problems. In other cases, the transaction software may be integrated into the service provider's system to offer better availability of services. These variations do not depart from the broader spirit and scope of the invention, and the examples cited here are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.Interactive Natural Language Rebooking or Rescheduling of Calendar Activities
This process is described in a different view with more detail in the discussion of
In the example shown in
The processes described above can be stored in a memory of a computer system as a set of instructions to be executed. In addition, the instructions to perform the processes described above could alternatively be stored on other forms of machine-readable media, including magnetic and optical disks. For example, the processes described could be stored on machine-readable media, such as magnetic disks or optical disks, which are accessible via a disk drive (or computer-readable medium drive). Further, the instructions can be downloaded into a computing device over a data network in a form of compiled and linked version.
Alternatively, the logic to perform the processes as discussed above could be implemented in additional computer and/or machine readable media, such as discrete hardware components as large-scale integrated circuits (LSI's), application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC's), firmware such as electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM's); and electrical, optical, acoustical and other forms of propagated signals (e.g., carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.).
It is clear that many modifications and variations of this embodiment may be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the novel art of this disclosure. These modifications and variations do not depart from the broader spirit and scope of the invention, and the examples cited here are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.