Prior Art Analysis
We’ll demonstrate briefly what values these patents bring to the users now, then check six major players on the market for potential similarities: Google Docs and Hangouts, Microsoft Lync, CISCO Webex, Adobe Connect, Citrix GotoMeeting and TeamViewer.
Presence Awareness is vital for all modern Internet applications, except websites so far. You’re always alone when browsing Internet. But not anymore. If you go to some website, enabled with our technology, for example www.freemeeting.com , you can see other visitors pointers and they can see yours. You can even talk to them, probably you share the common interests, because you met on this website. You can leave notes or graffiti over website content. Website owners may leave a host or hostess to sell products or services or provide support to you. Learn more about this technology on website www.enflock.com .
What we demonstrated you is actually an Ad-hoc Meeting on someone else’s website, where everybody can see and talk to each other anonymously. In business though, meetings are usually pre-arranged, by someone, such as this one:
- click any spot to start typing annotation there,
- character by character, visible to everybody as it progresses,
- all participants at the same time,
- draw all together simultaneously, visible to everybody as it progresses,
- can see own cursor “shadow” following the cursor, which indicates where really remote cursor is within the shared content,
- can see others pointers as well.
In addition to the multi-user annotations, we can edit remote document (with owner's permission). All participants can do that, even compete for the remote cursor.
The possibility to see everyone's pointers as a Meeting is moving along, maybe not so important for some business meetings. But for some entertainments, like card games, it’s “a must”.
This creates a major difference to all existing online card games, where you’re not sure whether you play against computer robot or not. With our patented technology you can watch your human opponent, how he reacts on your unpredictable behavior, how he moves his cards, what state of mood he is in, to make a decision.
Now it’s ShowDown time, open your cards guys! Wow, she’s got Straight Flush – look at this!
Anyway, all these examples are different forms of Presence Awareness in business and entertainment meetings, as we patented in our portfolio.
There is a separate application in Hangouts, called Remote Desktop, which allows remote control. But it is focused on technical support, and only one participant can control remote desktop. In this case, I'm controlling the remote desktop, and remote cursor is following my mouse with about one inch delay. Others can not provide help if someone is already doing that. So in tech support situation, only two participants, local and remote ones, can control the desktop.
Google Docs, separate from Hangouts, is the application which allows to cooperatively edit documents. For text documents, it provides coloured flags with participants names, indicating in real-time where their text cursor is - all at the same time. It doesn't show remote mouse pointers. We do show remote mouse pointers and typing, character by character. Google Docs flags don't work the same way for spreadsheets. Participants only see color-highlighted cells and only results of editing, and sometimes names pop up.
Overall, the two most important features: remote document sharing and editing - are not integrated together. They live in two separate applications, which makes them impossible to use in a meeting. The third most-sought feature: annotation of remote document doesn't exist at all. Still, remote text cursors in Google Docs are potentially similar to our remote freehand cursors.
In Lync, multiple presenters can even compete for that remote pointer, whoever takes it last. It means that all participants are synchronized in time within remote content - potentially similar to what we are doing. It means whose action is first, whose next in time sequence. Say, for now somebody controls that remote cursor. Now I take it over, click different cells, and move it around. Now it’s taken away from me again. Participants can not see each other pointers, which is a bit confusing in Lync.
Unfortunately, in Lync you can’t draw or type annotations right on top of shared remote content. For that, there is a separate Whiteboard, which is.. white obviously. Participants can click any spot to type annotations, visible to other participants with some delay, almost character-by-character, or better say, by group of characters. Almost the same way as we are doing. No simultaneous drawing though, you have to complete, or commit the drawing for it to become visible to others. Participants cannot see each other’s pointers, only the results of typing or drawing, after they are committed. So it’s not real-time editing as it progresses like in our system.
Meeting participants can type and draw, same as in Microsoft Lync or with us, but to make it visible to others, they have to commit typing or drawing – opposite to our real-time editing. Participants can not see each other pointers, only the results of their actions.
Apparently Adobe Connect is soo slow, almost impossible to demonstrate. Interestingly enough, FreeMeeting client is written in Adobe Flash, same as Adobe Connect. But we achieve the same goal with much lighter and better technique, to synchronize pointers much faster than Adobe Connect is doing.
Drawing is fast and real-time, all participants can see it as it progresses – like in our technology. Although they don’t see each other pointers, only lines drawn. Apparently we didn’t find how to type annotations on top of shared desktop. Maybe it’s hidden somewhere in whiteboard, which we didn’t find either - in April 2014.
Drawing and typing right on top of shared remote desktop are fast and real-time, all participants can see as they progress – like in our technology. Although pointers are not visible to participants. You can:
- click any spot to start typing annotations,
- character by character, visible to everybody,
- all participants at the same time,
- draw all together simultaneously, visible to everybody as it progresses.
It’s not easy to synchronize all real-time participants who are thousands miles away, but our patents are doing that. By sending message back to originating it client in timely sequence with all other messages from other clients, we have solved the pointer synchronization problem in distributed high-latency network.
The fact of almost the same lag about ~one inch between local cursor and its following “shadow”, proves that all leading products have optimized their pointers synchronization technique to maximum possible - same as we have done. Now this lag is determined only by network latency, which is impossible to beat.
Luckily, we live on Earth, not on Jupiter which is 11 times bigger, so time delay on Jupiter would be 11 times bigger as well – and lag would be around 11 inches too - size of the laptop screen! So it will be impossible to run live Meetings across Jupiter.
Back to Earth: our system is even more advanced in comparison to others, because it shows typing and drawing as they progress, in real-time, not after committing like most competitors do. In addition to that, we show to participants each other pointers to provide true Presence Awareness. So they are confident that their counterparts are paying attention, and not multitasking with something else – otherwise their pointers will be missing.
As another commercial application, visitors of someones website can be aware of each other, and even communicate anonymously, using our www.enflock.com technology.
These core functionalities and value-add distinguishing features will differentiate portfolio owners in current highly competitive world of online meetings – for both business and entertainment. Patent portfolio:
- will serve as a safety net against potential infringements,
- it can be sub-licensed to others,
- it will protect own paid services against free ones.
Presence Awareness, as we have patented it, enhances user experience, and increases their stickiness to website or meeting provider, reducing churn. Since online meetings are typically paid subscription services, this technology is revenue generating.