Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Vonage Granted Seven New Patents

January 09, 2015

With omni-channel capabilities becoming a priority for contact centers, and more and more contact centers relying on VoIP for voice communications, it is always interesting to see what is going on in the patent space.  In fact, Holmdel, NJ-based Vonage, who was one of the early VoIP providers in the U.S. has announced it was been granted seven new patents in December by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The Company has been on a bit of a roll when it comes to intellectual property grants having secured a total of 31 new patents in 2014. It now owns 68 U.S. patents, with 247 U.S. patent applications pending, along with numerous foreign patents and pending applications in jurisdictions worldwide.

"We have grown our patent portfolio more than tenfold in four years, and 2014 was our strongest year yet with 31 U.S. patents issued, almost double the number of patents received in 2013," said Chief Legal Officer Kurt Rogers. "Our patent growth reflects Vonage's commitment to innovation, leveraging technology advancements for enhanced call quality, and protecting the Company's intellectual property. Many of the patents issued in 2014, including those announced today, focus on key strategic areas for the Company, including mobile and enterprise solutions, and enriching the customer experience." 

The interesting seven patents granted Vonage

For those interested, below is a list of the seven patents secured by Vonage with the summary description.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,923,498, "Integrating Information from Voice Over Internet Protocol Systems and Social Networking Systems," issued December 30, recommends connections between members of a social network based on common contacts found in call histories and contact lists.  

U.S. Pat. No. 8,917,839, "Method and Apparatus for Detecting Devices on a Local Area Network," issued December 23, enables a host computer to discover all devices located in a local area network by sending a single request.  This invention enables a VoIP operator to efficiently install and configure multiple devices located at a single customer site.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,917,717, "Method and System for Multi-Modal Communications," issued December 23, covers a communications device that can be provisioned for different tiers of communications service, with each tier offering progressively enhanced service features.  This invention enables the communications provider to offer a single device that can be re-purposed based on changes to a customer's service plan.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,917,629, "Providing Effective Advertising via Synchronized Telephone and Data Streams," issued December 23, allows a VoIP operator to play an advertisement targeted to the calling party while the call is being connected.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,914,284, "Methods and Apparatus for Conducting Internet Protocol Telephony Communications," issued December 16, improves quality of service for VoIP communications in situations where a poor connection prevents some audio data from reaching its destination.  With this invention, words spoken by the user are converted into text, which is transmitted along with the audio data.  Upon reaching the destination, the text recreates missing audio data on the receiving end.  

U.S. Pat. No. 8,913,622, "Systems and Methods for Integrating Route and Rank Information into Call Detail Records," issued December 16, allows a VoIP operator to keep track of previous successful and unsuccessful attempts to complete a communication request where there are multiple available routes.  This information allows the VoIP operator to re-prioritize future routing decisions to increase the likelihood of successfully routing the call on a first attempt, thereby improving quality of service by reducing wait time during call setup.

U.S. Pat. No. 8,908,678, "Intelligent Call Routing," issued December 9, relates to optimizing quality of service and minimizing user costs when placing calls on mobile devices.  Today's mobile devices can often connect using various options, including cellular voice, cellular data and Wi-Fi.  This invention recognizes various factors including the quality and cost of the available connections, location of the device and battery level to determine the optimal connection for a call.

From a contact center perspective it is hard to pick from the list as to which ones are going to be most important. In addition, as is always the case with patents, how they get applied and what those with the patents decide to do in exercising them in regards to the rest of the industry remains to be seen.  That said, if nothing else, the seven represent the fact that despite its seeming maturity, VoIP remains an area of innovation and contact centers clearly can be beneficiaries going forward. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle