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Title: System and method for computer-aided technician dispatch and communication

  • Patent No.: 6,990,458
  • Assignee: CSG Systems, Inc.
  • Prior art cutoff: Prior art predating Aug 28, 1996

Summary: Patent number 6,990,458 claims software for assigning technicians to jobs based on factors including technician skill and the skill required by each job. The claimed method displays the status of assigned jobs, along with an indication of whether any jobs remain unassigned. Dependent claims add elements such as displaying job locations and technician locations on a map, and using a numerical factor to quantify the skill required by a job.

Claim 7: A method for handling a plurality of unassigned service requests, comprising:

  • receiving the plurality of service requests which are upon receipt are unassigned;

  • using programming for the purpose of assigning to each of the plurality of unassigned service requests one or more of a plurality of technicians as a function of

    • at least a skill level of each of the plurality of technicians,

    • considering a skill level required by each of the plurality of unassigned service requests,

    • considering prior service requests assigned to each of the plurality of technicians via the programming,

    • and an amount of time to complete each of the plurality of unassigned service requests;

  • displaying an indication if one or more of the plurality of unassigned service requests remain unassigned as a result of processing performed via the programming;

  • and displaying an indication of a status of one or more service requests that have been assigned to at least one technician via the programming.

Bonus--Dependent Claims 8-10: Claims 8-10 add the elements of

  • Displaying the location of assigned jobs on a map;

  • Representing the job difficulty using a "points" score;

  • Displaying the location of the technicians on a map.

Request: Do you know of any prior art systems or references from before 8/28/96 that satisfy the skill and display elements? How about the "bonus" claims involving using a map as part of the display, or numerically scoring the difficulty of a job?

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4 Answers 4

Remedy was created in 1992. BMC bought them in 2002. As far as I know, this is exactly the focus of that tool since it was created. I didn't actually use it then, so I can not say for sure that the tool did all of these things in 1996.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMC_Remedy_Action_Request_System

Also, Supportworks is listed in Wikipedia as released in 1994. I am not familiar with this tool, but it is in the class of tools which did this sort of thing (which was not something new in 1996)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supportworks

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Regarding bonus claim 8, http://www.tieonline.com/job_ads_list.cfm

Shows the location of jobs on a map that are available for teaching at different grade levels (Elementary, Grade 1-3, High School, etc).

If that isn't precisely the same, the leap from available jobs on a map to assigned jobs seems pretty obvious.

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CA-NETMAN which was in wide use prior to the cutoff date had implemented many if not all of these features in their software as shown in claim 7. It was run on IBM mainframes with MVS. There is scant prior art on the net today regarding the help desk software state at this time, but I found a good literature search section from an US Army review of help desk systems.

http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a268157.pdf

CA-NETMAN is available today in a current version, but CA might help.

http://www.ca.com/us/products/detail/ca-netman.aspx

ftp://mf.cai.com/pub/netman/mvs/r49/pibs/GI67398.TXT

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This is totally bogus. I wrote similar software in 1979-1980 to assign teaching assistants to Chemistry courses at Purdue University ... similar specifications: take into account the TA's prior experience teaching the class, take into account the TA's class schedule, etc. There is absolutely nothing "unique" about their claim.

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I think they are looking for documentation to demonstrate that this was done. –  DJClayworth Jul 31 '13 at 21:43
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