8x8, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGHT), provider of innovative cloud communications solutions, today announced that it has been awarded a new patent related to its conferencing technologies. On July 30, 2013, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued United States Patent number 8,498,725 entitled “Systems and Methods for Distributed Conferencing.” This patent relates generally to methods and systems for distributed conferencing in a collaborative environment.
Many collaborative groups and associations rely on holding conferences to advance their work and disseminate information. While attending a conference meeting in person allows the attendee to experience and participate in the meeting as intended, remote participants ( e.g., attending over the Internet) often are subjected to a much lower quality experience due to pre-distribution of older versions of presentation slides, poor audio quality, transmission interruptions due to server crashes, and so forth. These factors diminish the ability for remote participants to attend the meeting in real time in any meaningful way. In current systems for distributing "live" conference meeting content to remote participants, the content is gathered and managed by a central server. As such, any problem experienced by the server affects all of the meeting contents routed through the server. For instance, server-related disruptions such as a server crash will affect all of the content provided to that server.
8x8’s invention relates to distributed conferencing systems and methods that reliably provide local meeting content to remote participants. In accordance with various example embodiments, a plurality of authorized source units generate media content responsive to and representative of respective content for a meeting. In response to the generated media content, one or more data streams are developed at each authorized source, each stream being a separately-decodable real-time representation of at least a portion of the media content generated at the respective authorized source. The separate data streams are transmitted by each authorized source to a common multicast IP group address for retrieval or access by remote participants.