Abstract: When an entity (such as a customer using a communication device 131, 141, 151 . . . ) attempts to communicate with a target (such as an employee), an arrangement indicates to the customer, “status” information describing at least the employee's present and future ability to communicate with the entity (such as by returning his call). At least one sensing device 111-119 is configured to provide sensing information concerning the target employee's status in response to an action of the target employee with respect to the sensing device. A monitoring server 102 is configured to receive the sensing information and to govern communication to the entity (customer) of the target's “status.” In one implementation, a particular sensing device (such as a cash register 111, computer terminal 112, or time clock 113) is configured to perform both (A) a primary function that is not related to providing the sensing information, and (B) the secondary function of providing the sensing information.
December 8, 2003
Date of Patent:
July 1, 2008
James C. Ehlinger, Christopher P. Gilboy, Marius J. Gudelis