Microsoft looking to make Skype business-friendly with new patent filing

Skype is Microsoft's gem when it comes to communication services for both consumers and enterprise. Video calling enables folk to remain in contact when the only connection is a network and the company could well be looking to add live annotation capabilities to Skype. This would enable users who are conferencing over supported devices to make live annotations that can be exchanged with the recipient.

According to Microsoft and its patent application, whenever users make a digital annotation on the received live video stream, it's displayed on top of the view - much like how you're own webcam mugshot is shown in said video calls. It's then transmitted to the remote device. When the recipient in the call makes a follow-up annotation on the live video, it's beamed back across and displayed in the same fashion (see the below illustration).  

"FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment, in simplified form, of an architectural framework for implementing the mobile video conferencing technique embodiments of this invention; FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating one embodiment, in simplified form, of a video sharing feature and a collaborative digital annotation feature of the conferencing technique; FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment, in simplified form, of a view sharing feature of the conferencing technique."

This would be interesting to see come to the smartphone, as well as computers, tablets and whatnot. It would certainly aid with live collaboration and communication in certain situations. The patent also details an ability to take a video snapshot, share it in the call and digitally annotate the displayed image for further collaboration. Screen sharing is also touched on, but in the form of app sharing, where users can show what's displayed in a browser, map app and possibly Microsoft Office.

We mention smartphones because Microsoft indicates in the filing that this technology could work with a Windows Phone equipped with a laser point for presentations. This would enable users to make live annotations to a slide in a presentation. "A given mobile device can optionally include a laser pointer. Various implementations of the laser pointer device are possible. By way of example but not limitation, the laser pointer device can be either integrated into the rear video capture device, or separately mounted on the rear of the mobile device."

This patent was filed back in Q3 2012 and was published only last week by the US Patent and Trademark Office. While we don't see this technology coming to Windows and Windows Phone anytime soon, it's still pretty cool to see some hints as to what the company is working on.

All that said, what would you like to see added in Skype? 

Source: Patent Bolt

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.