Typically when I see news like this I pass. But when I read through the release, I became much more interested.
I became interested in 8×8’s new patent because it could potential impact other VoIP providers and VoIP equipment manufacturers in a major way. I say this because the patent touches upon a commonly used method for setting-up VoIP phones and adapters fro use with their service – auto-provisioning.
According to 8×8’s release,
The patent relates to a telephony communications approach that implements an auto-discovery feature that enables an endpoint device to automatically locate and establish communication with a desirable server in a web of interconnected servers. In one specific example implementation, the endpoint device is an Internet-type telephone communicating with a remote server in an Internet-based Private Branch Exchange (IPBX).
In non-patent speak it essentially describes a method by which an endpoint (desktop VoIP phone) when connected to a WAN (Wide Area Network) will automatically locate a VoIP provider’s server (in order to download configuration, settings, etc). Once this connection is made to the “home base” the device and the server can then communicate “data” between one another.
Now I’m no patent lawyer and certainly some of the verbose used in the patent is lost on me, but it sure seems that what 8X8 has patented is how just about every residential and hosted VoIP provider goes about offering “plug-n-play” functionality to the end customer as well as the ability to push new settings, firmwares, etc seamlessly.
So if you’re a VoIP provider you might want to take a look at this one a little closer. I know I’m going to.