New patent: "Participation queue system and method for online video conferencing"

Bader-Natal, A., Fields, B., Regan, M., Katzman, J., Kosslyn, S.M., Tilley, B., Hallman G. “Participation queue system and method for online video conferencing” U.S. Patent 9,935,987, filed December 12, 2016, issued April 3, 2018.

A virtual conferencing system is described for implementing a speaker queue. For example, one embodiment of the virtual conferencing system comprises: a plurality of clients, each of the clients comprising state management logic to maintain a current state of a 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; wherein the current state on each client includes a speaker queue comprising an ordered set of participants to be designated as current speakers during the virtual conference, wherein participants are added to the speaker queue in response to input provided by the participants indicating a desire to be a current speaker, wherein one or more participants towards the top of the speaker queue are designated to be current speakers, wherein participants are initially added to the bottom of the speaker queue and are moved towards the top of the speaker queue as other participants are removed from the top of the speaker queue; a virtual conferencing graphical user interface (GUI) to display a video stream of one or more current speakers within one or more current speaker regions, the virtual conferencing GUI further providing a visual representation of the speaker queue to each of the participants, the visual representation comprising an ordered representation of each of the participants in the speaker queue.