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Patentsuche

  1. Erweiterte Patentsuche
VeröffentlichungsnummerWO2001075560 A1
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerPCT/SE2001/000736
Veröffentlichungsdatum11. Okt. 2001
Eingetragen3. Apr. 2001
Prioritätsdatum3. Apr. 2000
VeröffentlichungsnummerPCT/2001/736, PCT/SE/1/000736, PCT/SE/1/00736, PCT/SE/2001/000736, PCT/SE/2001/00736, PCT/SE1/000736, PCT/SE1/00736, PCT/SE1000736, PCT/SE100736, PCT/SE2001/000736, PCT/SE2001/00736, PCT/SE2001000736, PCT/SE200100736, WO 0175560 A1, WO 0175560A1, WO 2001/075560 A1, WO 2001075560 A1, WO 2001075560A1, WO-A1-0175560, WO-A1-2001075560, WO0175560 A1, WO0175560A1, WO2001/075560A1, WO2001075560 A1, WO2001075560A1
ErfinderLars Eriksson, Thomas Broquist
AntragstellerTargian Ab
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links:  Patentscope, Espacenet
User information retrieving system
WO 2001075560 A1
Zusammenfassung
In general, the invention refers to a method and a system for retrieval of information about a human or machine user of a distributed data communication system, whereby the user by means of a dynamically allocated data communication address is placed in data communicative connection with an operator of the data communication system for requesting transfer of data from a data server connected to said data communication system, to said communication address. Said communication address is transmitted to said operator of the communication system; the identity of the user is retrieved by the operator of the communication system; and user related information is retrieved in dependence of the user identity.
Ansprüche  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)
■25" CLAIMS
1. A method for retrieving information about a computer user (4) of a data communication system, wherein the computer (1) of the user is set-up to an Internet operator (2) and receives a temporary data communication address, wherein the user (4) calls a web server (3) comprising a for the user (4) requested data, wherein said communication address is stored at the visited web server (3) and the requested data is transmitted to the computer (1) of the user, characterized in that the web server (3) is brought to transmit said data communication address and the point of time for the communication with the computer (1) of the user to a second computer (6) connected to a database (7), in that said second computer (6) is brought to send a received data communication address and associated point of time to said Internet operator (2) and thereby request identity information about said user, in that identity information is transmitted from the Internet operator (2) to said second computer (6), wherein said second computer uses said identity information to retrieve user information about said user from said database (7).
2. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said user information is used to adapt a web site, comprising said data, to said user.
3. The method according to claim 2, wherein said user information is used to adapt an advertisement on said web site.
4. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said user information comprises geographic information related to said user.
5. The method according to claim 1, wherein a selection whether the used data communication adress is to be transmitted from said web server (3) to said second computer (6) in direct connection, so-called real time, with said visit at said web site, or with a time delay.
6. The method according to claim 5, wherein said selection is pre-set at the web server.
7. The method according to claim 5, wherein said selection is performed by means of a selecting mechanism (40) arranged at the web server.
The method according to claim 5, wherein said selection is performed in dependence of a selection parameter received in the web server from an external sender.
9. The method according to claim 1, wherein said user information, associated with said data communication address, is stored in said database (7) during a predetermined time period.
10. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said second computer (6) with said connected database (7) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology.
1 1. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said computer (6) is directly connected to said web server (3).
12. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said computer (6) with said connected database (7), and said web server (3) are arranged within a common sub-network (9) accessible via the Internet.
13. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said computer (6) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology with a minimum of interconnected network components.
14. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said computer (6) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology with a minimal length of interconnected data communication leads.
15. The method according to claim 1 , wherein said computer (6) and said web server (3) are arranged on the same side of an access filter (11), preferably in the shape of a fire wall.
16. The method according to claim 1, wherein different parts of said computer (6) is arranged both close the web server (3) in the network topology, and close to an authorization/authentication/accounting-system (13) of said Internet operator (2) in the network topology.
17. The method according to claim 1, wherein at the Internet operator the transmission rate by which data is transmittable in the data communication connection between said user computer and the Internet operator is detected.
18. The method according to claim 17, wherein said detected transmission rate is sent to said second computer (6).
19. The method according to claim 17, wherein said detected transmission rate is sent to said web server (3).
20. The method according to claim 17, wherein the information content in a, to the user of said arbitrary computer (1), shown web site is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate.
21. The method according to claim 17, wherein the information content in a, from the web server (3) to a user of said arbitrary computer, transmitted file is selected in dependence of said detected transmission rate.
22. The method according to claim 17, wherein the information type in a, to the user of said arbitrary computer, shown web site is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate.
23. The method according to claim 17, wherein the information type in a, from a web server (3) to a user of said arbitrary computer (1), transmitted file is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate.
24. The method according to claim 1 , wherein the Internet operator retrieves said identity information by mapping a received data communication address with the Internet subscription of said computer user (4).
25. A method for retrieval of information about a human or machine user of a distributed data communication system, wherein the user is placed in data communicative connection with an operator of a data communication system, using a dynamically assigned communication address, for demand of transmission of data from a data server connected to the communication system to said communication address, characterized in that: said communication address is transmitted to said operator of the communication system; - said user's identity is retrieved by the operator of the communication system; and in that user related information is retrieved in dependence of said user's identity.
26. A system for retrieval of information about a computer user (4) of a data communication system, comprising means for performing the steps according to any of the preceding method claims.
27. A system operable to identify and access information about a user (109) of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention, wherein the system comprises at least one service device (108) operable to provide services to said user (109), at least one access device (105a) operable to provide access to said distributed communication system, characterized in that said system also comprises at least one control means (101 ; 103) connected to said at least one access device (105a) and to said at least one service device (108), a to said at least one access device (105a) connected identification device (1 13) operable to identifying an address of a specific user, at least one storage device (102; 104) connected to said at least one control means (101 ; 103), wherein said service device (108) is devised to send a request for information about a user requesting a service from said service device (108) to said control means (101 ; 103), which control means (101 ; 103) sends a request for a real time identification of said address to said access device (105a), which access device (105a) identifies said address with the aid of said identification device (1 13) and sends said identification to said control means (101 ; 103), which control means (101 ; 103) fetches said information from said storage device (102; 104) and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device (108).
28. The system as recited in claim 26, comprising memory means (1 1 1 ) connected to said at least one control means (101 ; 103) and operable to store mappings of said addresses and identifications for said users (109), wherein said control means (101 ; 103) is devised to check if said memory means contains an up to date identification, and if said check gives an affirmative answer said control means (101; 103) fetches said information from said storage device (102; 104) and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device (108), whereas the control means (101 ; 103) is devised to send a request for a real time identification only if said check gives a negative answer.
29. The system as recited in claim 27, wherein said memory means is a cache memory (111).
30. The system according to claim 26, characterized in that said system is divided into a number of geographical regions based on the distance between different geographical regions.
31. The system according to claim 29, characterized in that said distance is measured by the delay between individual control means (101 ; 103) in said system.
32. The according to any one of claims 26 - 30, characterized in that each geographical region comprises a central control means (101), a central storage device (102), and in that each geographical region can comprise at least one regional control means (103), at least on e regional storage device (104), and at least one access device (105a).
33. The system according to claim 31, characterized in that each geographical region also can comprise a supplier means (106a) operable to distribute information, and at least one attach means (107a) operable to attach additional information to identifications, wherein said supplier means (106a) is connected to said at least one access device (105a) and to said at least one attach means (107a).
34. The system according to any one of claims 26 - 32, characterized in that each service device (108) is connected to a first interface unit (1 10), which in turn is connected to said at least one control means (101 ; 103), in that each control means (101 ; 103) is connected to a second interface unit (112), which in turn is connected to said at least one access device (105a), and in that each control means (101; 103) also is connected to said at least one storage device (102; 104).
35. The system according to any one of claims 26 - 33, characterized in that said distributed communication system is the Internet.
36. The system according to any one of claims 26 - 34, characterized in that each service device (108) is an online service operator (108), each access device (105a) is an Internet access operator (105a), and each control means (101; 103) is a server (101; 103).
37. The system according to any one of claims 26 - 35, characterized in that each supplier means (106a) is a first supplier server (106a), and each attach means (107a) is a second supplier server (107a).
38. The system according to any one of claims 26- 36, characterized in that said address of a user (109) is an IP-address.
39. A method for identifying and accessing information about a user (109) of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention, wherein said method is performed with the aid of a system comprising at least one service device (108) operable to provide services to said user (109), and at least one access device (105a) operable to provide access to said distributed communication system, said method comprises the steps of: - that a user (109) requests a service (A), implicitly of explicitly, from a service device (108);
- that said service device (108) sends a request for additional information about said user (109) to a control means (101; 103);
- said control means (101 , 103) checks if a memory means (1 11) connected to said control means (101 ; 103) contains an up to date identification;
- if said check gives an affirmative answer said control means (101; 103) fetches said information from a to said control means (101 ; 103) connected storage device (102; 104) and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device (108); or - if said check gives a negative answer said control means (101 , 103) sends a request for a real time identification of an address of said user ( 109) to said access device (105a);
- said access device (105a) identifies said address with the aid of a to said access device (105a) connected identification device (113), and sends said identification to said control means (101; 103);
- said control means (101 ; 103) fetches said information from a to said control means (101 ; 103) connected storage device (102; 104), and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device (108).
40. The method according to claim 38, characterized in that said system also comprises a to said each service device (108) connected, first interface unit (1 10), and a to said each control means (101 ; 103) connected, second interface unit (112), wherein the method also comprises the following steps:
- said request sent from said service device (108) is forwarded by said first interface unit (110), which first interface unit (110) decides which control means (101 ; 103) to send said request to; and
- said request sent from said control means (101; 103) for a real time identification of an address of said user (109) is forwarded by said second interface unit (112) which selects which access device (105a) to send said request to.
41. The method according to any one of claims 38 - 39, characterized in that said system is divided into a number of geographical regions based on the distance between different geographical regions.
42. The method according to claim 38, characterized in that said distance is measured by the delay between individual control means (101 ; 103) in said system.
43. The method according to any one of claims 40 - 41, characterized in that each geographical region comprises a central control means (101), a central storage device (102), and in that each geographical region can comprise at least one regional control means (103), at least one regional storage device (104), at least one access device (105a), a supplier means (106a) operable to distribute information, and at least one attach means (107a) operable to attach additional information to identifications, wherein said supplier means (106a) is connected to said at least one access device (105a) and to said at least one attach means (107a).
44. The method according to any one of claims 38 - 42, characterized in that said method also comprises the following steps: - said control means (101 ; 103) updates said memory means (1 1 1) with a mapping between said address and an identification for each said request forwarded by said first interface unit (110);
- said control means (101 ; 103) receives a mapping between said address and said identification by querying said access device (105a), or directly from another control means (101 ; 103);
- said control means (101 ; 103) stores said mapping together with a time stamp in an internal memory means (111);
- said control means (101 ; 103) iterates through the currently stored mappings between said address and said identification in said internal memory means (1 1 1) if a predetermined time has elapsed since the stored time stamp for said entry; and
- if said address is invalid, which is verified by querying said access device 105a, said entry in said internal memory means (1 11) is removed; or
- if said address is valid, which is verified by querying said access device 105a, said entry is updated with a new time stamp.
45. The method according to claim 43, characterized in the following steps:
- said central control means (101), within a first geographical region, downloads mappings between access account information and an identifier from said access device (105a), which mapping data is stored in said central storage device (102) within said first geographical region;
- said supplier means (106a) within said first geographical region downloads mappings between access account information and an identifier from said access device (105a) within said first geographical region;
- said supplier means (106a) within said first geographical region distributes said information and identifier to said attach means (107a) in said first region, which attach means (107a) attach additional information to said identifier;
- said attach means (107a) in said first region sends the new total information and identifier to said central control means (101) within said first region; and - said new total information and identifier are stored in said central storage device (102) in said first region.
46. The method according to claim 44, characterized in the steps of:
- said central control means (101) distributes said mapping data to said regional control means (103); and
- said mapping data are stored in said regional storage device (104).
47. The method according to claims 45, characterized in the steps of:
- said central control means (101) in said first region distributes said mapping data to central control means (101) in another geographical region if there are service devices (108) requesting said information from said regional control means (103) or said central control means (101) in another region than said first region; and
- said mappings data are stored in said central storage device (102) in said another region.
48. The method according to claim 46, characterized in the steps of:
- said central control means (101) in said first region distributes said mapping data to regional control means (103) in other geographical regions if there are service devices (108) in another region than said first region requesting said information from sad regional control means (103).
49. The method according to claims 47, characterized in the step of:
- that said user (109) can interact with said control means (101; 103).
50. The method according to claim 48, characterized in that said interaction is comprised of said user (109) giving feedback to an action taken by said service device (108), wherein said feedback is stored in said storage device (102; 104).
51. The method according to any one of claims 38, characterized in that said distributed communication system is the Internet.
52. The method according to any claim 50, characterized in that each service device (108) is an online service operator (108), each access device (105a) is an Internet access operator (105a), and each control means (101 : 103) is a server (101; 103).
53. The method according to claims 42, characterized in that each supplier means (106a) is a first supplier server (106a), and each attach means (107a) is a second supplier server (107a).
54. The method according claim 38, characterized in that said address of a user (109) is an IP-address.
55. A computer program product (102], ..., 102n) for use with a computer system (100], ..., 100n), comprising a storage device and software code portions stored on said storage device, for performing the steps of claim 38 when said product (102],
... , 102n) is run on said computer system (100], ... , 100n) .
56. A system operable to identify and access information about a user ( 109) of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention, wherein the user is provided with an address for access to the distributed communication system, comprising a control means (101 ; 103) with a storage device (102; 104) for storing user information; an identification device (113), operable to identify a user dependent on the associated user address; a memory means (111), connected to said control means (101 ; 103) and operable to store mappings of addresses and user identifications, said control means being devised to retrieve a user identification from said identification device (113), or from said memory means if it contains an up to date identification, and to fetch user information from said storage device (102; 104) dependent on the retrieved user identification.
57. A method for identifying and accessing information about a user (109) of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention, characterized by the steps that:
- a user (109) is given an address for access to the distributed communication system;
- a control means (101, 103) checks if a memory means (1 1 1) connected to said control means (101 ; 103) contains an up to date identification mapped to said address;
- if so said control means (101 ; 103) retrieves the user identification from said memory means;
- if not, a real time identification of the user associated with the address is performed; - said user information is fetched from said storage device (102; 104), dependent on the user identity.
58. A system as recited in claim 56 in combination with any of the preceding claims.
59. A method as recited in claim 57 in combination with any of the preceding claims.
60. A computer program product comprising computer program code devised to direct a computer system to perform the steps or functions in accordance with any of the preceding claims.
Beschreibung  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)

USER INFORMATION RETRIEVING SYSTEM

Technical field of the invention The present invention relates to a system operable to identify and access information about a user of a distributed communication system, for example in connection with communication on the Internet.

Description of related art In recent years the Internet has been the fastest growing medium for communication and this expansion is expected to continue. One of the most common means to finance content and services on the Internet is by selling advertising space. In traditional media, advertising has been one of the primary sources of revenues and effort has always been focused on maximising the results from advertising.

Internet is not different when it comes to optimising advertising campaigns. The goal for an advertiser is generally to be able to expose targeted advertisement to each Internet user. A problem in this connection is that it is relatively simple to be anonymous on the Internet and therefore it is normally only possible to prepare targeting of advertisement based on estimates based on an Internet users previous visits on web-sites controlled by the advertiser.

Advertising on the Internet is carried out for example by presenting or displaying banners on predefined areas on web pages that are accessible on a web site. On the other hand, the advertising is often realised by presenting for example a company or its products on a dedicated web site as a whole.

The technology to identify Internet users available today is based on the use of "cookies". A cookie is a data file stored at web- browser level. This technology has some serious disadvantages. Firstly it is very easy for the Internet user to turn off the function to receive cookies. Secondly, it is the web-browser being identified, not the Internet user using the web-browser.

Another, more tedious solution is based on a log-in process where the Internet user is identified by a user name and authenticated by a password. By using a log-in process it is possible to determine which individual is using the web- browser at a given point in time on the specific web-site on which the user has logged in.

If it was possible to easily and safely identify an Internet user without the need for cookies or log-in procedures, a whole range of new possibilities would appear, such as the possibility to subsidize and/or charge activities or time spent on a specific web-site, the possibility to charge micro-amounts, or handling log-in without the Internet user being involved etc.

Object of the Invention It is a general object of the present invention to enable the identification of a user and the access to information about a user of a distributed communication system. A more specific object is to enable said identification and accessing in real time without the users intervention whenever the user implicitly or explicitly requests a service from a service provider on e.g. the Internet. A further object is to solve the problem of increasing the performance of such a system, comprising the aspects of:

- Shortening the response time and decreasing the load on the network resources during the retrieving of the identity of the user and the user information.

- Delimiting the network resources required to obtain geographical information about the user computer.

- Controlling the time delay in retrieving information about the user computer.

- Enabling optimizing the set of information presentable to a user in response to retrieval of information about said user.

- Achieving a system design for retrieving, on the basis of a temporary IP address, geographical data that is relevant to the computer user to whom the temporary IP address is allocated.

Summary

In general, the invention refers to a method and a system for retrieval of information about a human or machine user of a distributed data communication system, wherein the user by means of a dynamically allocated communication address is data communicatively connected with an operator of the data communication system for requesting the transmission of data from a server connected to the communication system to said communication address. Said communication address is transmitted to said operator of the communication system; the identity of the user is retrieved by the operator of the communication system; and user related information is retrieved in dependence of the user identity.

General Description of the Invention According to the present invention there is provided in a first aspect a system operable to identify and access information about a user of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention. The system comprises at least one service device (108) operable to provide services to said user, and at least one access device operable to provide access to said distributed communication system. The system also comprises at least one control means connected to said at least one access device and to said at least one service device. The system also comprises a to said at least one access device connected identification device operable to identify an address of a specific user, and at least one storage device connected to said at least one control means. In one embodiment, the system also comprises a to said at least one control means connected cache means operable to store mappings of said addresses and identifications of said users. The service device sends a request for information about a user requesting a service from said service device to said control means, which control means checks if said cache means contains an up to date identification. If said check gives an affirmative answer said control means fetches said information from said storage device and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device. On the other hand, if said check gives a negative answer said control means sends a request for a real time identification of said address to said access device, which access device identifies said address with the aid of said identification device and sends said identification to said control means, which control means fetches said information from said storage device, and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device. The main advantage with the system according to the present invention is that it makes it easy and safe to identify a user without the need for cookies or log-in procedures.

Another object of the invention is to provide a method for identifying and accessing information about a user of a distributed communication system in real time without the users intervention. The method is performed with the aid of a system comprising at least one service device operable to provide services to said user, and at least one access device operable to provide access to said distributed communication system. The method comprises the following steps:

- that a user requests a service, implicitly or explicitly from a service device;

- that said service device sends a request for information about said user to a control means; - said control means checks if a cache means connected to said control means contains an up to date identification:

- if said check gives an affirmative answer said control means fetches said information from a to said control means connected storage device, and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device; and - if said check gives a negative answer said control means sends a request for a real time identification of an address of said user to said access device;

- said access device identifies said address with the aid of a to said access device connected identification device, and sends said identification to said control means; - said control means fetches said information from a to said control means connected storage device, and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device. The main advantage with the method according to the present invention is that it becomes easy and safe to identify a user without the need for cookies or log-in procedures.

Another object of the invention is to provide at least one computer program product expressed in a high level program code or as a machine code directly loadable into the internal memory of at least one digital computer. The at least one computer program product comprises software code portions for performing the steps of the method according to the present invention, when said at least one product is/are run on said at least one computer. The main advantage with the computer program product(s) according to the present invention is that it becomes easy and safe to identify a user without the need for cookies or log-in procedures.

In specific embodiments, the present invention is realized in communication on the Internet. In this application of the invention an arbitrary computer is connected to an Internet service provider which establishes a connection to a web server providing a web page or similar information demanded for by the computer user. When establishing the connection, the Internet service provider uses a dynamic Internet Protocol address (IP address) in order to connect the computer with the web page, or expressed in a more matter-of-fact manner, in order to transmit data from the web page to the user computer. The IP address is in one embodiment stored as log data at the web server, for example in connection with a retrieved web page. The web server is directed to transmit the IP address and possibly also a time parameter indicating the time of the retrieval of the web page to a second computer being communicatively coupled to a database for storing IP address and time parameters. The transmitting of the IP address is transmitted in real time or with a time delay, preferably in response to a predetermined or to a real time selection of the time delay. The second computer is directed to relay the received IP address to one or more Internet service providers and request information on the user computer that currently is associated with the IP address or was associated with the IP address at a specific point in time. For example, the Internet service provider may retrieve and transmit to the database of the second computer information on the geographical area of the user computer.

In order to solve the problem of shortening the response time and of decreasing the workload on the network resources, the second computer and the database should be positioned close in network typological terms to the AAA- system of the Internet service provider or the web server. Thereby the latency or delay that occurs in the retrieval procedure is substantially decreased. In an alternative solution different instances of the second computer are positioned at the AAA-system of the Internet service provider and at the web server.

To solve the problem with high traffic intensity between the second computer and the Internet operators, which follows in the real time application when geographical data has to be requested for each received IP address, in this application also somewhat inappropriately called Internet protocol, a time window is used during which the geographical location is regarded as unchanged for an IP- address. In reality, this means that from a detected file request from the web server by a user, it is assumed that the same user stays connected to the Internet during a given time, thereby maintaining the allocated IP address. Therefore, said geographic information associated with said Internet protocol is stored in said database during a predetermined time period. On receipt of an Internet protocol, i.e. an IP address, with an associated point of time, the second computer checks if geographical information has been stored for said Internet protocol during said time period. Said second computer requests said geographic information from an Internet operator only if said point of time occurs after the expiry of said time period. This reduces the number of requests that have to be made to the Internet operators substantially. Said predetermined time could be minutes, for example 1 -60 minutes, and preferably 5-15 minutes, but is selectably configurable with a timer means.

To solve the problem of how to retrieve relevant user information, e.g. the geographical data of a computer user, a client database or a user database of the Internet operator is used in one embodiment of the invention. Each subscriber of an Internet operator is registered with a user identity associated with the network interface board in the user's computer. The Internet operator has a system to which the user, with the user computer, establishes communication by a log-in procedure, wherein said user identity is transferred together with a password to the Internet operator. Upon successful log-in with the Internet operator, said operator answers the user with a temporary IP address, here also called Internet protocol. Thus, in the system of the Internet operator there is a connection, or mapping, between user identity and IP address. In one embodiment of the present invention, the IP address is transmitted to the Internet operator as a request for the associated user information, e.g. geographic data, in order to retrieve the current geographic data. In response to this request the Internet operator maps the received Internet protocol, or IP address, to the user identity, which is associated to the Internet subscription of the computer user. Said Internet operator uses said user identity as an input parameter to the client database in order to extract said user information therefrom, e.g. geographic information related to said user identity. By this solution, may for example geographically dependent information be retrieved from data, i.e. current IP address, which in reality is related to a physical network interface board, which as such lacks geographical association. 0

Different aspects of the invention comprise the following system functionality and method to retrieve information about a computer user (4) of a data communication system, wherein the user's computer (1) connects to an Internet operator (2) and receives a temporary data communication address, wherein the user (4) calls a web server (3) comprising data requested by the user (4), whereby said data communication address is stored at the visited web server (3) and the requested data is transmitted to the user's computer (1). The web server (3) is brought to transmit said data communication address, and the time for the communication with of the user's computer (1), to a second computer (6) connected to a database (7), that said second computer (6) is brought to send a received data communication address and the associated time to said Internet operator (2) and thereby request identity information about said user, that said identity information is transmitted from the Internet operator (2) to said second computer (6), wherein said second computer uses said identity information to retrieve user information about said user from said database (7).

More specific functions exist in different embodiments:

- wherein said user information is used to adapt a web-site, comprising said data, to said user;

- wherein said user information is used to adapt an advertisement on said web site; - wherein said user information comprises geographic information related to said users;

- wherein a selection is performed whether the used communication address is to be transmitted from said web server (3) to said second computer (6) in immediate connection, so-called real time, with said visit to said web site, or by a time delay;

- wherein said selection is pre-set at the web server;

- wherein said selection is performed by means of a selecting mechanism (40) arranged at the web server;

- wherein said selection is performed in dependence of a selection parameter which is received in the web server from an external sender;

- wherein said user information, associated with said data communication address, is stored in said database (7) during a predetermined time period;

- wherein said second computer (6), with said connected database (7) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology; - wherein said computer (6) is directly connected to said web server (3);

- wherein said computer (6), with said connected database (7), and said web server (3) are arranged within a common sub-network (9), which is accessible via the Internet;

- wherein said computer (6) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology with a minimum of intermediate network components;

- wherein said computer (6) is arranged close to said web server (3) in the network topology with a minimum length of intermediate data communication leads;

- wherein said computer (6) and said web server (3) are arranged on the same side of an access filter (11), preferably in the shape of a "fire wall";

- wherein different parts of said computer (6) are placed both close to the web server (3) and close to an authorization/authentication/accounting system (13) of the Internet operator (2), in the network topology;

- wherein the transmission rate, by which data is transmittable in the communication connection between said user's computer and the Internet operator, is detected by the Internet operator;

- wherein said detected transmission rate is sent to said second computer (6);

- wherein said detected transmission rate is sent to said web server (3);

- wherein the information content of a web site, shown to the user of said arbitrary computer (1), is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate;

- wherein the information content of a file, transmitted from the web server (3) to a user of said arbitrary computer, is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate; wherein the information type in a web site, shown to the user of said arbitrary computer, is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate;

- wherein the information type of a file, transmitted from the web server (3) to the user of said arbitrary computer (1), is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate; wherein the Internet operator retrieves said identity information by mapping a received data communication address with the Internet subscription of said computer user (4).

The different features may in different embodiments be combined in different combinations.

It should be emphasized that the term "comprises/comprising" when used in this specification is taken to specify the presence of stated features, steps or components but does not preclude the presence of one of more other features, integers, steps, components or groups thereof.

Brief Description of the Drawings Embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a block diagram of a system operable to identify and access information about a user of a distributed communication system according to the present invention. o

Figure 2 shows another block diagram of the system in figure 1 in more detail.

Figure 3 shows yet another block diagram of said system in figure 1 , when said system is used in connection with the Internet. Figure 4 is a flow chart of a method for identifying and accessing information about a user of a distributed communication system in real time according to the present invention.

Figure 5 is a flow chart of a method for updating of an internal cache means according to the present invention. Figure 6 is a flow chart of a method for handling the situation when said method according to figure 4 is performed in several geographical regions.

Figure 7 is a flow chart of a method for performing a service according to the present invention.

Figure 8 shows a schematic diagram of some computer program products according to the present invention.

Figure 9-11 shows different embodiments of the invention;

Figure 12 and 13 show embodiments of the invention realized with access filters;

Figure 14 schematically shows how the database 1407 comprises a timer means 1460, and a control unit 1462, which in a storing means 1466 stores input data, from I/O-means 1464, with reference to a time period determined by the timer means 1460;

Figure 15 shows the invention with a selection mechanism 1540 arranged at the web server; Figure 16 shows an embodiment of the system of the Internet operator for extraction of geographical data;

Figure 17 schematically shows how the Internet operator detects and sends further, by means of a special mechanism 91, the data transmission rate in the connection between the calling computer and the Internet operator; and Figure 18 shows a further embodiment.

Detailed description of embodiments

In figure 1 there is disclosed a block diagram of a system operable to identify and access information about a user of a distributed communication system according to the present invention. The distributed communication system can e.g. be the Internet, the Internet 2 or a digital TV-system, and comprises according to figure 1 three service devices 108 operable to provide services to different users, here disclosed at 109, in the form of three different users 109. The distributed communication system also comprises three access devices 105a, each operable to provide access to said distributed communication system. The system according to the present invention, limited by said broken line, comprises at least one control means 101; 103, here only one is disclosed, connected to said three access devices 105a and to said three service devices 108. The system according to the resent invention also comprises at least one storage device 102; 104, here only one is disclosed, connected to said at least one control means 101 ; 103. The distributed communication system can also comprise at least one attach means 107a, here three are disclosed, each operable to attach additional information to identifications. If said distributed communication system is the Internet, said service device 108 is an online service provider, said access device 105a is an Internet access provider (IAP) 105a, and said attach means 107a is an additional supplier 107a. A service provider is in this context any party providing an Internet based service. Said control means 101 ; 103 is in this context a server 101 ; 103.

In figure 2 there is disclosed another block diagram of the system disclosed in figure 1 in more detail. The aim with this figure is to illustrate that the system according to the present invention can be divided into a number of geographical regions. In figure 2 said system is divided into three different geographical regions. Said division is performed based on the distance between the individual control means 101 ; 103 in the system according to the present invention. In a fist region, encircled by the broken line, there is disclosed a central control means 101a connected to a central storage device 102a, two access devices 105a connected to said central control means 101a. In said first region there are also disclosed two regional control means 103a connected to said central control means 101a. Each said regional control means 103a is also connected to a regional storage device 104a. Each geographical region can also comprise a supplier means 106a for handling a number of attach means 107a. Each attach means 107a is connected to said supplier means 106a and to said central control means 101a. In this figure 2 there is also disclosed a second geographical region comprising a central control means 101b, a central storage device 102b connected to said central control means 101b. This region also comprises a regional control means 103b connected to said central control means 101b. At last, said second region also comprises a regional storage device 104b connected to said regional control means 103b. As is apparent from figure 2 this second region does not comprise any access device, supplier means or attach means. It is noted that there can be more than one region comprising the same parts as in the first region. In this figure 2 there is also disclosed a third geographical region comprising a central control means 101c, a central storage device 102c connected to said central control means 101c. This third region also comprises a supplier means 106c and three attach means 107c, wherein each attach means 107c is connected to said supplier means 106c and to said central control means 101c. Of course there are connections between said different regions. In figure 2 there is disclosed a connection between said central control means 101a and said central control means 101b. There is also a connection between said central control means 101a and said regional control means 103b and a connection between said central control means 101b and said regional control means 103a. There is also a connection between said supplier means 106a and said supplier means 106c. In connection with figure 6 there is described the function of the system disclosed in figure 2.

In figure 3 there is disclosed yet another block diagram of said system in figure 1, when said system is used in connection with the Internet. The same reference signs in the different figures represent the same structural elements and are not described again. The Internet is schematically shown in the middle of the figure in the form of a "cloud". The system also comprises a first interface unit 110 connected to said service device 108, which first interface unit 1 10 also is connected to two different control means 101 ; 103. The system also comprises a second interface unit 1 12 connected to said control means 101 ; 103 and to two access devices 105; 105a. Said control means 101 ; 103 are also connected to said storage device 102; 104. Said interface units can e.g. be Application programming Interfaces (API). The system also comprises a cache means 1 1 1 connected to said control means 101; 103, which cache means 1 1 1 is operable to store mappings of said addresses and identifications for said users 109. The system also comprises an identification device 1 13 operable to identify an address of a specific user 109. Said identification device 1 13 is connected to said access device 105a. Said identification device 1 13 is a device that finds a mapping between an address and an identifier for the user 109 currently using said address. This information may be extracted from a storage device connected to said access provider 105a, which the access provider 105a always updates with information on which address said access provider 105a assigns to said user 109. This storage device can e.g. be a data base. In connection with figure 4 there is described the function of the system disclosed in figure 3. In figure 4 there is disclosed a flow chart of a method for identifying and accessing information about a user of a distributed communication system in real time according to the present invention. The method is performed without the users 109 intervention. Said method is also performed with the aid of a system, e.g. disclosed in figure 3, comprising at least one service device 108 operable to provide services to said users 109, and at least one access device 105a operable to provide access to said distributed communication system. The method begins at block 200. At block 202 the method continues with the step: that a user 109 requests a service A (see e.g. figure 3), implicitly or explicitly from a server device 108. The method continues at block 204 with the step that said service device 108 sends a request B, Cl for additional information about said user 109 to a control means 101 ; 103. At block 206 the method continues with the step that said control means 101; 103 checks if said cache means 111 contains an up to date identification. If said check gives an affirmative answer the method continues at block 208 with the step that said control means 101; 103 fetches said information from said storage device 102; 104, and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device 108. Said information fetched by said control means 101; 103 is connected to said identification from said cache means 111. If said check gives a negative answer the method continues at block 210 with the step that said control means 101; 103 sends a request D, see e.g. figure 3, for a real time identification of said address of said user 109 to said access device 105a. At step 212 the method continues with the step that said access device 105a identifies said address with the aid of said identification device 113, and sends said identification to said control means 101 ; 103. The method continues, at block 214, with the step that said control means 101 ; 103 fetches said information from said storage device 102; 104, and sends a reply comprising said information to said service device 108. The method is completed at block 216.

The request B, se figure 3, contains the current IP-address assigned to the Internet user 109. The request B is forwarded by said first interface unit 110 to a request Cl . The first interface unit 1 10 decides which server 101 ; 103 to send the request Cl to based on the geographical location of said server 101 ; 103 and the geographic location of said access means 105a said Internet user 109 is connected to. Said first interface unit 1 10 also decides whether to optimize this selection based on speed or reliability depending on the type of the request. The second interface unit 1 12 selects the correct access means 105a based on the IP-address in the request Cl and forwards the request El, still containing the IP-address assigned to the Internet user 109, to the access means 105a. The access means 105a identifies the IP-address in request El by the use of said identification device 1 13, and sends an identification back to said server 101; 103. This is illustrated in figure 3 with HI and I. Said server 101; 103 updates said cache means 1 1 1 with the mapping between the IP-address in request C 1 and the identification delivered from the access means 105a. The server 101; 103 fetches information connected to the identification delivered from said access means 105a from said storage device 102; 104, and sends a reply to said service device 108. This is illustrated in figure 3 with LI and M. The server 101; 103 finally logs the request.

In figure 5 there is disclosed a flow chart of a method for updating of an internal cache means according to the present invention. The method begins at block 240. At block 242 the method continues with the step that said server 101 ; 103 updates said cache means 111 with the mapping between said IP-address and said identification for each request Cl, and sends a reply (HI and I) in correspondence thereto. The method continues at block 244 with the step that said server 101; 103 receives a mapping between an IP-address and an identification by querying said access means 105a, or directly from another server 101; 103 when the other server 101; 103 has received a mapping according to step 242. The next step, at block 246, consists of storing said mapping in an internal cache means 111 together with a timestamp. This step is performed by said server 101 ; 103. At block 248 said method continues with the step that the server 101 ; 103 iterates through the currently stored mappings between a IP address and an identification in said cache means 11 1, and validates the entries if a certain time has elapsed since the entry was last validated according to the stored timestamp. The validation is performed by querying said access means 105a for an identification of the IP-address. At block 250 the question is asked if the IP-address is valid? An entity in said cache means 11 1 is valid if the access device 105a which "is the owner" of the address can verify that the identity still is associated with said address, by the use of said identification device 1 13. If the answer is affirmative the timestamp on said entry is updated as in block 252. On the contrary, if the answer is negative, i.e. the IP-address is invalid, the cache entry is removed as in block 254. The method is completed at block 256. It is noted that the steps according to this figure 5 is a part of the methods according to the present invention.

In figure 6 there is disclosed a flow chart of a method for handling the situation when said method according to figure 4 is performed in several geographical regions. The method begins at block 270. At block 272 the method continues with the step that said central server 101a downloads mappings between Internet access account information and an identifier from the access means 105a within a first geographic region. The downloaded mapping data is stored in said central storage device 102a. This can be done in real time, as soon as said access means 105a receives updated account information or new accounts, or on a regular basis by day or any other period of time with all new information since the last update. The method continues at block 274 with the step that said supplier server 106a downloads mappings between Internet account information and an identifier from said access means 105a within said first region in the same way as described at block 272. The supplier server 106a distributes the information to the attach means 107a in said first region. The attach means 107a attach additional information to the identification. Said attach means 107a sends the additional information together with the identification to said central server 101a. It is also possible that an attach means 107a receives information from an access means 105a directly, attach additional information and sends this to said central server 101a. The additional information is stored in said central storage device 102a. The next step, at block 276, consists of distributing, with the aid of said central server 101a, said mappings to said regional servers 103a and said mappings are stored in said regional storage device 104a. At block 278 said method continues with the step that said central server 101a distributes said mappings to central servers 101b in other geographic regions if there are service means 108 requesting the information from regional servers 103b or the central server 101b in this other region. The distributed mappings are stored in said central storage device 102b for said other region. The next step, at block 280, consists of distributing, with the aid of said central server 101a, said mappings to regional servers 103b in other geographic regions if there are service means 108 in that region requesting the information from those regional servers 103b. The method is completed at block 282. It is noted that the steps according to this figure 6 is a part of the method according to the present invention.

In figure 7 there is disclosed a flow chart of a method for performing a service according to the present invention. With this service the invention can be used to enable a service means 108 to sponsor Internet users 109 when they visit the service means 108 or use services provided by said service means 108. The method begins at block 300. At block 302 the method continues with the step that an Internet user 109 connects A (see e.g. figure 3) to a service means 108. The method continues at block 304 with the step that said service means 108 makes a request, through said first interface unit 110 for a real time identification of said online Internet user 109 to check whether the Internet user 109 is allowed to get sponsoring. If the answer is negative, i.e. if the Internet user 109 not is allowed to be sponsored, the method continues at block 306 with the step that said service means 108 displays a message to the Internet user 109 explaining how the Internet user 109 can get hold of this service. If the answer on the contrary is affirmative, i.e. the Internet user 109 is allowed to be sponsored, the method continues at block 308 with the step that said service means 108 sends a logon request through said first interface unit 1 10. Said first interface unit 1 10 redirects the request to a server 101 ; 103 with an indication of which access means 105a the Internet user 109 is using. The server 101; 103 logs the exact time the logon request was made together with the identification of the Internet user 109, where the identification is derived in the same manner as previously described. At block 310 the method continues with the step that said service device 108 verifies that the Internet user 109 is actively using the services of said service device 108 and sends update requests through the first interface unit 110. Said first interface unit 110 redirects said request to the server 101 ; 103 which logs the exact time the update request was made together with the identification of the Internet user 109. The next step, at block 312, consists of the following: said service device 108 notes when the Internet user 109 is not using said services any longer and sends a logoff request through said first interface unit 1 10. Said first interface unit 110 redirects the request to the server 101; 103, which logs the exact time the logoff request was made together with the identification of the Internet user 109. The next step, at block 312, consists of the following: said service device 108 notes when the Internet user 109 is not using said services any longer and sends a logoff request through said first interface unit 110. Said first interface unit 1 10 redirects the request to the server 101; 103, which logs the exact time the logoff request was made together with the identification of the Internet user 109. The method continues, at block 314, with the step that the log, on a regular basis, is parsed to calculate the amount of time a specific Internet user 109 has used a service at a specific service means 108. At block 316 the method continues with the step that said service means 108 will be billed for this time and said access means 105a of the corresponding Internet user 109 will be credited and will reduce the Internet users 109 bill with the corresponding amount. The method is completed at block 318. It is to be noted that the steps according to this figure 7 is a part of the method according to the present invention.

In this realization of the invention, information about an Internet user 109 is provided by one or several information suppliers 107a which all have a relationship to the information supplier 105a also being the party providing the Internet access to the Internet user 109. The information provided is compiled and stored in advance in storage (102 or 104) or compiled in real time in cooperation with the Internet access provider 105a. The compiled and stored information is stored in such a way that it is impossible to associate an IP-address with the stored information without the help of an Internet access provider 105a which also is the party distributing the IP-address to the Internet user 109. When the Internet user 109 implicitly or explicitly requests a service A from a online service provider 108 this online service provider 108 has the possibility to requests part of, or complete information about the Internet user 109 requesting the service. The online service provider 108 will post the request to a device 1 10 where the device decides where to forward the request. As a result the online service provider 108 receive parts of, or complete information about the Internet user 109 requesting the service.

The retrieved information will be used for controlling parts of, or the complete content of a service provided by the online service provider 108. The retrieved information can also be used to collect statistics about requests to a specific service provided by the online service provider 108.

In this realization of the invention, information about an Internet user 109 is provided by one or several information suppliers 107a which all have a relationship to the information supplier 105a also being the party providing the Internet access to the Internet user 109. The information provided is compiled and stored in advance in storage (102 or 104) or compiled in real time in cooperation with the Internet access provider 105a. The compiled and stored information is stored in such a way that it is impossible to associate an IP-address with the stored information without the help of an Internet access provider 105a which also is the party distributing the IP-address to the Internet user 109.

When the Internet user 109 implicitly or explicitly requests a service A from a online service provider 108 this online service provider 108 has the possibility to request a result from a matching process performed by the server (101 or 103) and request a match with the data retrieved given a specific Internet user 109 requesting a service from the online service provider 108. The online service provider 108 can also specify criteria's to match with within the request for match.

The result of the requested match will be used for controlling parts of, or the complete content of a service provided by the online service provider 108, or more specific, be used to target information or advertisement given the result from the requested match.

The invention will as described so far only be able to identify an individual Internet user 109 defined as being the holder of an Internet subscription. This introduces a problem to identify the physical individual who is actually using the Internet connection N and requesting services A. For example, several members in a family may use one computer, one modem, one telephone line and one Internet subscription for all their Internet usage.

To improve the quality and the possibility to target information in more detail, a small piece of software enables the physical Internet user to select between different profiles (eViduals). These profiles are stored in said storage device 102; 104 in the same way as information in the already described examples. Each said profile has an own identity. The software communicates the currently selected eViduals to the server (101 or 103).

There is also a device (specifically a web-site) enabling physical Internet users to maintain their eVidual profile. This device also enables physical Internet users to select their eVidual regardless of their present location. The facility for physical Internet users to maintain their eVidual profiles permits the QualityAds Network to relay user defined data to online service providers 108 on demand.

On usage of this is that online service providers 108 will be able to personalize content and appearance to suit Internet users 109 based on individual preferences. Another possible use is to provide automated log-in-procedures to services provided by online service providers 108.

Not described in the drawings is the possibility for online service providers 108 to let Internet users 109 interact with servers (101 or 103). This interaction can be used to provide a possibility for an Internet user 109 to give feedback to an actin taken by the online service provider given the result m or a request B to server (101 or 103). The feedback from an Internet user 109 is stored in storage (102 or 104) in order to improve the quality of future requests B to server (101 or 103). The feedback can be handled in real time. In this scenario the Internet user 109 acts as an information supplier 107.

In figure 8 there is disclosed a schematic diagram of some computer program products according to the present invention. There is disclosed n different digital computer 100], ..., 100n, wherein n is an integer. There is also disclosed n different computer program products 102], ..., 102n, here showed in the form of compact discs. The different computer program products 102,, ..., 102n are directly loadable into the internal memory of the different digital computers 100], ..., 100n. Each computer program product 102], ..., 102n, comprises software code portions for performing some or all the steps of figure 4 when the product(s) 102b ..., 102n is/are run on said computer(s) 100], ..., 100n. Said computer program products 102[, ..., 102n, can e.g. be in the form of floppy disks, RAM disks, magnetic tapes, opto- magnetic disks or any other suitable products.

Further embodiments of the invention are described with reference to Fig 9 to Fig 18. So, for example, in the embodiment of Fig 9 use is made of the dynamic IP address in order to determine the geographical area wherein the user computer is situated. When a human or machine user gains access to the Internet via an Internet service provider, the user is assigned a dynamic, temporary Internet Protocol address, called an IP address, used for the communication between the user, the service provider and web servers. When the Internet communication session is terminated, the dynamic IP address is taken out of use and stored for later assignment to another user. The dynamic IP address is thus only temporarily associated with a specific user, and does per se not leave any address or identification of the user.

Figure 9 illustrates a method for communication on the Internet, wherein an arbitrary computer 1 is set-up to an Internet operator 2 and wherein the Internet operator 2 establishes a connection with a web server 3 comprising a web site 5 or corresponding information, requested by the computer user 4.

During establishment of said connection the Internet operator uses a dynamic IP address to link said computer 1 with said web site 5. Possibly, the IP address is stored at the visited web site 5 as its so-called log-data. The log-data stored at the web site comprises at least an information statement relating to the allocated dynamic IP address and an information statement of the time for the setup.

According to the present invention, the web server 3 is brought, at or after a visit to the current web site 5, to transmit log-data 8 in the shape of the used Internet protocol and the time for the visit, to a second computer 6 connected to a database 7. This second computer and data base preferably belongs to the practitioner of the present invention. By this transmission the practiser get to know with which IP address and at which time a set-up between the computer 1 and the web site 5 was made.

According to embodiments of the invention, said second computer 6 is thereafter brought to send received IP addresses and the corresponding times to one or several existing Internet operators 2, 14, 15 and to thereby request in which geographic area each of the arbitrary computers 1 are located, which computer's 1 Internet protocol and time are registered in said data base 6. Fact is that the arbitrary computer 1 , or rather its user, has a subscription or the like with an Internet operator. From this subscription it is apparent on which address the arbitrary computer or its user is registered. Such a request may be sent to one or several Internet operators. Possibly, the request has to be sent to all Internet operators in order to get a complete answer, but in other solutions one has at hand a list of all IP addresses and to which service operator these are allocated.

In one embodiment the requested Internet operator enters information, e.g. address or other geographical determination, about the arbitrary computer 1 which at a certain time used a certain dynamic IP address, in information fields of the log- data, which have been transmitted to the Internet operator in connection with the request. Possibly, the Internet operator also enters its name. Suitably, requested operators, which have not been involved in the current set-up, retransmit log-data without measure. Besides geographic determination the Internet operator may transmit other available data, such as information about subscriber and telephone number or other information related to the subscriber. Finally, that user information is brought to be transmitted from the Internet operator 2 to said database 7. Thus, by this procedure information about which web sites that have been visited by which arbitrary computers 1 , at which time the visits occurred and where the arbitrary computers geographically are located is available. Figure 9 and figure 12 show further a distributed solution, wherein said second computer 6 with said connected database 7 is arranged close to said web server 3 in the network topology. In one embodiment said computer 6 is directly connected to said web server 3. In such implementations, wherein it is relevant, it is advantageous to arrange said computer 6 with said connected database 7 and said web server 3 within a common sub-network 9 accessible via the Internet. An important part of the inventive idea is that said computer 6 is arranged close to said web server 3 in the network topology, with a minimum of interconnected network components, or with a minimal length of interconnected data communication leads. With a minimum of components or conductors is meant the smallest number of necessary components required for the units to be able to communicate data in a way relevant for the application. In implementations with access control said computer 6 and said web server 3 should be arranged on the same side of an access filter 20, preferably in the shape of a fire-wall. Figure 13 shows a distributed solution, wherein said second computer 6 with said connected database 7 is arranged close to an authorization/authentication/accounting-system (AAA-system) 13 of said Internet operator 2 in the network topology. In different embodiments in analogy with the solution according to figure 12: - said computer 6 is directly connected to said authorization/authentication/accounting-system 13; or

- said computer 6 with said connected database 7 is connected to said authorization/authentication/accounting-system 13 with a minimum of interconnected network components; or - said computer 6 is arranged close to said authorization/authentication/accounting-system 13 in the network topology, with a minimal length of interconnected data communication leads: or

- said computer 6 and said authorization/authentication/accounting-system 13 are arranged on the same side of an access filter 1 1, preferably in the shape of a fire wall.

According to the invention a selection is performed, whether the IP address or the used Internet protocol is to be used in direct connection, basically in so-called real time, with the user's visit on the web site, or with a time delay. The purpose of the selection is the difference in the information transmission rate dependent on the user of the information. In different embodiments there exists a pre-performed selection or a dynamic selection. There may also exist a selecting mechanism arranged at the web server, see figure 15. The selecting mechanism is arranged to select real time transmission or a transmission with pre-settable time delay.

To optimize the information sent in the files transmitted to the user at the calling computer, the transmission rate at which data is transmittable in the data communication connection between said arbitrary computer and the Internet operator is detected at the Internet operator. The detected transmission rate is then sent further to relevant receivers, which are able to control the amount and the type of information to retrieve the optimum content to a specific user or specific computer. Different alternative embodiments are arranged such that:

- said detected transmission rate is sent to said second computer 6; said detected transmission rate is sent to said web server 3: - the information content in a to the user of said arbitrary computer 1 shown web site is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate;

- the information content in a from the web server 3 to a user of said arbitrary computer transmitted file is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate;

- the information type in a to the user of said arbitrary computer shown web site is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate;

- the information type in a from the web server 3 to a user of said arbitrary computer 1 transmitted file is selected in dependence of the detected transmission rate.

In those cases where the user information is a geographical area this may be expressed as an address, e.g. a street or a zip code. According to another embodiment said address is by means of the second computer 6 brought to be translated into a zip code, which is stored in said database 7. In an embodiment said web server 3, 9, 10 are linked in real time with said second computer 6 and the database 7. This is shown by the dash dotted line 11 in figure 1.

In figure 10 a special embodiment is shown, wherein the Internet operator makes the set-up to a web server via the second computer 6, belonging to the practitioner of the invention. Thus the owners of the web servers may be costumers to the user of the invention. This is illustrated by the lines 12, 13 in figure 2.

Besides, a further embodiment is that the web servers 9, 10 are integrated in the second computer, whereby the second computer 6 in reality is a web server. That said web servers 3, 9, 10 are linked in real time are interconnected with said second computer 6 and the database 7 means that the information about which web site that is visited by an arbitrary computer 1 and where it is located in real time are available in the database.

In the last-mentioned embodiment, after a user has established a connection to the current web site and said user information, e.g. geographical area, has been transmitted to the database, the second computer 6 may be brought to send an instruction to the web server to show a predetermined web site to the user 4.

In different embodiments the invention may be used, in real time or with a time delay, to identify and retrieve user information by groups or one by one, at certain times. Further, an Internet operator may have the second computer 6 with the corresponding database integrated in its system.

Figure 16 schematically shows a system 2 of the Internet service operator comprising an I/O means 82, and a mapping means 84, in which a mapping between the users identities of subscriber 4 of the Internet operators and, if applicable, their temporary IP addresses, is controlled and stored in a storage means 86. Said mapping means 84 is further connected to a client database 80, on which other information about subscribers, e.g. address information, type of subscription or time of subscription, personal identification information etc. is stored. In response to a input request about geographical information in dependence of an attached IP address received, via the I/O means 82, the mapping means 84 maps said IP address with relevant user identity from the storage means 86. Thereafter the mapping means 84 uses said user identity to extract relevant geographic information, e.g. zip code, from the client database 80. This geographic information is further sent by the I/O-means 82 to the requesting party, e.g. the computer 6. In alternative embodiments the database 80 and the storage means 86 may of course be realized as one unit.

Further developments of the invention comprise the following features in the shape of system components, method steps or software.

When the system is used in real time, neither the web server 3, 9, 10 nor the computer 6, nor the database 7, nor the Internet service operator 2, need to use or store the time together with the IP address, but it is sufficient to use or store only the IP address. When the system is used in real time, it is not even necessary to implement the database 7 since the IP address does not have to be buffered.

Besides the existing geographical location of the user 4, it is also possible to receive information about the geographical location of the computer 1 from the Internet service operator 2.

In the case that the computer 6 sends a request to one or several Internet operators 2, the computer 6 contains logic indicating which specific Internet operator 2 is to receive the request, in order to eliminate the need of requesting every Internet operator 2 connected to the computer 6.

Conversion from address to zip code in the computer 6 may be substituted by a procedure wherein the zip code is delivered by the Internet operator 2 upon request from the computer 6.

Figure 18 illustrates an application of the invention in a system, wherein the computer 1802 is connected in another way than by direct calling to the Internet operator 2, e.g. by the arrangement 1801 wherein the computer 1802 receives an internal Internet address but the arrangement 1801 towards web server 3, 9, 10 and computer 6 shows a static Internet address, and where the following features are applied. The Internet operator 2 establishes a connection by means of the Internet address to a web server comprising a web site or the like, requested by the user 4 of the computer, wherein the Internet address is stored at the visited web site 5 as a so- called log-data. Thereafter the web server 3 is brought, at or after the visit of the current web site 5, to transmit the used Internet address to a second computer 6 connected to a database 7. In relevant cases the point of time for the visit is also transmitted. Said second computer 6 is further brought to send received Internet addresses and in relevant cases, but not necessarily the points of time to one or several existing Internet operators 2. The Internet operator 2 identifies, by means of the arrangement 1801, the internal Internet address of the user's computer 1802 and may thereby retrieve user information, e.g. in which geographical area the arbitrary computer 1801 is located or in which geographical areavthe user is located.

By letting the web server 3, 9, 10 signal back to the computer 6 it is possible to store information in the database 7 or in the computer 6 about activities in the web server 3, 9, 10 executed by the user 4. The Internet operator 2 may define types or groups of users 4 implying a handling of profiles for user 4 instead of having to know the information which is specific for the user 4.

By substituting the database 7 with another type of implementation, e.g. in the computer 6 with memory storage, a solution with improved performance is obtained.

The computer 6 may receive information about the Internet user 4 and/or the geographical location of the computer 6 from another than the Internet service operator 2, by means of an arrangement 1810.

The invention is not limited to the embodiments described in the foregoing. It will be obvious that many different modifications are possible within the scope of the following claims.

Patentzitate
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Referenziert von
Zitiert von PatentEingetragen Veröffentlichungsdatum Antragsteller Titel
WO2003094441A1 *2. Mai 200313. Nov. 2003Telia Ab (Publ)An arrangement and a method for directing geographically dispersed units
Klassifizierungen
Internationale KlassifikationG06F17/30
UnternehmensklassifikationG06F17/30867
Europäische KlassifikationG06F17/30W1F
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