What is this “Call Screening” invention?
“Call Screening” is a new feature that you could make available on your Blackberrys (in cooperation with the wireless carriers).
How often have you received a call from someone you know but not been able to triage the value of answering? We all have people in our lives that should have our cell phone number yet may merit only voicemail. You must remember the days before voicemail when your answering machine had added value of enabling you to “screen your calls”. You could “let the machine get it”, hear the beginning of a message and then decide to pick-up. The advent of voicemail eliminated this helpful feature.
But how could it be done?
The solution is in “Three-Way Calling”. Properly configured, an incoming call could simultaneously be sent to the wireless carrier’s voicemail system and also to the receiver’s Blackberry in a quasi-“Screen mode”. A new Blackberry could then have three-settings: Answer, Ignore and now “Screen”.
Selecting “Screen” would then activate the three-way call (but still have all three options available). This three-way call in “Screen” mode would automatically mute the receiver’s microphone. Then, when the caller leaves the message the receiver can listen-in and possibly decide to pick-up.
At any time selecting “Answer” would un-mute the microphone enabling a regular cell phone conversation (and also potentially delete that voicemail). At any time selecting “Ignore” would cancel the “Screen” mode and the rest of the message would go to voicemail as it ordinarily would. This “Screen” mode would have the added convenience of saving time (and a call) compared to the old way of waiting an indeterminable amount
of time for the message to be left after which a call is placed to hear the message. C’mon, that’s pretty cool. Don’t you think?
NOTE - In September of 2006, I pitched this to execs at Research in Motion (Blackberry) and they were interested only if I had a patent. But I can't afford to file an application. According to U.S. patent law, I have one year from that pitch date to file a patent application or else I'll never be able to get one.