IBM wants a patent for injecting laughter into conference calls

by Volker Weber

IBM collaborates through conference calls. If you have ever been in one of them you know how incredibly boring they can be. Technology to the rescue:

A method, system and computer program product for enlivening conference calls. Noise detectors are placed on the telephone lines for the participants to a conference call. These noise detectors are used to monitor for noise on the telephone lines. A pre-selected stored sound (e.g., an interjection such as a laugh) may be generated if there is a period of silence on one of the telephone lines that exceeds a threshold, if noise is detected on a telephone line associated with a pre-selected individual, or if noise is detected on a pre-selected telephone line. Further, a request may be received from one of the participants of the conference call to play a provided interjection. The received interjection is later generated during the conference call. By including interjections during the conference call at appropriate times, the conference call may be enlivened and more interesting to the participants.

I would have a different idea which cannot be patented: skip four in five conference calls. The interesting stuff will be handled offline anyway.

Comments

Reading this patent, I wouldn't be too sure that you can't patent your approach. We may get into legal issues as to the variability in skip frequency, but hey, a sufficiently bland text should do it.

ibm@sit.com. O-M-G!

Frank Quednau, 2009-09-24

There will be less need for conference calls once the entire workforce is offshored to China and India. And yes, there's a patent for that.

Jeff Gilfelt, 2009-09-24

Well, this made me laugh, at least! :) I can think of other sounds to insert, too -> maybe a few "that's what she said"s from the office? others?
Chris

Chris Reckling, 2009-09-25

Reminds me of my German and Philosophy teacher who told us while practicing presentations: "Sie müssen lernen, Stille zu ertragen."

Philipp Sury, 2009-09-26

Hilarious! My old boss at IBM had the right interjection - a yappy dog.
I'm with you - perhaps conf calls can be more "enlivened and interesting" if you only hold them when absolutely necessary.

Brian Benz, 2009-09-27

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