New patent: "System and method for decision support in a virtual conference"

Bader-Natal, A., Fields, B., Kosslyn, S.M., Katzman, J., Regan, M., Fishman, N. “System and method for decision support in a virtual conference” U.S. Patent 9,578,073, filed August 31, 2015, issued February 21, 2017.

A virtual conferencing system is described which evaluates and selects participants for active participation based on one or more criteria. For example, one embodiment of virtual conferencing system comprises: a plurality of clients operated by participants and at least one moderator of a virtual conference, each of the clients comprising state management logic to maintain a current state of the virtual conference; a virtual conferencing service to establish audio and/or video connections between the plurality of clients during the virtual conference, the virtual conferencing service further including a state synchronization service communicatively coupled to the state management logic on each client to ensure that the current state of the virtual conference is consistent on each client; a virtual conferencing graphical user interface (GUI) to be rendered on the plurality of clients, the virtual conferencing GUI configured, via signals sent from the state synchronization service, to display a video stream of one or more current speakers during the virtual conference utilizing the established video connections; and a decision support module to evaluate the participants according to one or more criteria in the virtual conference and to select a subset of the set of participants as candidates to actively participate in the virtual conference based on the evaluation.