US Patent No. 8,015,495

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Issue Date: 09/06/2011

Abstract: A method of facilitating communications and collaboration of a group of plural remote participants comprises steps of receiving information over an information communications network from a first group participant; pushing, over the network to at least one other group participant, an access via an access channel; and allowing the other group participant to access at least some of the received information via said access channel in response to selective activation of the access channel by the other group participant.

What is claimed is: 

1. A method of facilitating asynchronous group collaboration via a network, comprising:

storing, on at least one computing node accessible by at least first and second group participants via at least one network, information associated with an access channel, said stored information including at least first and second information portions;

sending notices over said at least one network to at least said first group participant and said second group participant, said notices each including at least one selectively activatable element;

receiving, from said first group participant, a message selectively activating said selectively activatable element to thereby enable access by said first group participant to said first stored information via said access channel, said computing node suppressing access by said first group participant to said stored second information portion;

receiving, from said second group participant, a message selectively activating said selectively activatable element to thereby enable access by said second group participant to said second stored information via said access channel, said computing node suppressing access by said second group participant to said stored first information portion;

whereby said access channel thereby facilitates asynchronous collaboration between said first and second group participants by supplying, to each of said first and second group participants, information relevant to said participant while suppressing access to at least some information that is not relevant to said participant.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein storing information associated with an access channel further includes storing information for subsequent use in a decision as to whether a message is relevant to a participant, including using a list of distinctions for selection of at least one group participant to receive a notice.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein storing information associated with an access channel includes storing a specification of a group participant provided by an information originator to enable said specified group participant to have access.

4. The method of claim 2 wherein storing information associated with an access channel comprises storing information associated with members who have been previously specified to receive a related notice.

5. The method of claim 2 wherein storing information associated with an access channel comprises storing information related to responses received from a previous notice.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein sending notices includes selecting a receiver based upon a selection algorithm provided to a separate software agent.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein sending notices further includes accessing the stored information by the separate software agent, the separate software agent using the stored information, at least in part, while processing the selection algorithm.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein sending notices further includes providing an activatable element in the notice that enables subsequent selective activation.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a hyperlink.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein said selectively activatable element refers the user to an intelligent agent.

11. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively activatable element refers to a plurality of inputs that are filtered by an intelligent agent using a filtering algorithm.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a reference to an input from a disparate user.

13. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a reference to a plurality of inputs from a plurality of disparate users.

14. The method of claim 1 wherein said selectively activatable element contained within the notice references a web page.

15. The method of claim 1 wherein sending notices includes pushing content to participants via the selectively activatable element.

16. A system for facilitating asynchronous group collaboration via a network, comprising:

a storage device that stores, on at least one computing node accessible by at least first and second group participants via at least one network, information associated with an access channel, said stored information including at least first and second information portions;

a transmitter that sends notices over said at least one network to at least said first group participant and said second group participant, said notices each including at least one selectively activatable element;

a receiver that receives, from said first group participant, a message selectively activating said selectively activatable element to thereby enable access by said first group participant to said first stored information via said access channel, said computing node suppressing access by said first group participant to said stored second information portion, and receives, from said second group participant, a message selectively activating said selectively activatable element to thereby enable access by said second group participant to said second stored information via said access channel, said computing node suppressing access by said second group participant to said stored first information portion;

said access channel thereby facilitating asynchronous collaboration between said first and second group participants by supplying, to each of said first and second group participants, information relevant to said participant while suppressing access to at least some information that is not relevant to said participant.

17. The system of claim 16 wherein the storage device stores the information associated with the access channel including a list of distinctions associated with an access channel for subsequent use in a decision as to whether a message is relevant to a participant, including selection of group participant to receive a notice.

18. The system of claim 16 wherein the storage device stores the information associated with the access channel including a specification of a group participant provided by an information originator to enable said specified group participant to have access.

19. The system of claim 16 wherein the transmitter enables a group participant who has previously been specified as a member of a group specified to receive related notices.

20. The system of claim 16 wherein the transmitter is configured to select a receiver based upon a selection algorithm provided to a separate software agent.

21. The system of claim 16 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a hyperlink.

22. The system of claim 16 further including an intelligent agent, wherein said selectively activatable element refers to a plurality of inputs that are filtered by the intelligent agent using a filtered algorithm.

23. The system of claim 16 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a reference to an input from a disparate user.

24. The system of claim 16 wherein said selectively activatable element comprises a reference to a plurality of inputs from a plurality of disparate users.

25. The system of claim 16 wherein said selectively activatable element contained with the notice references a web page.