AWARN Alliance Demonstrating Advanced Alerting And New Resources For ATSC 3.0 TV Station News Departments

AWARN Alliance Demonstrating Advanced Alerting and New Resources for ATSC 3.0 TV Station News Departments

New User Experience Design and Santa Barbara Emergency Featured in AWARN Demonstrations at 2019 NAB Show

Contact: John Lawson
AWARN Alliance
Office +1 (703) 347-7070
Mobile +1 (202) 302-1654
[email protected]

LAS VEGAS, April 4, 2019 –  Using a new user experience (UX) design for advanced alerting and ongoing emergency information, the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance will demonstrate the power of ATSC 3.0 to integrate official emergency information with local television news coverage at the 2019 NAB Show, which begins April 8 in Las Vegas.

The new on-screen interface and two use cases built on an actual emergency will spotlight how robust multimedia emergency messaging – before, during, and after an emergency – can improve disaster resilience for communities and the nation. At NAB 2019, in addition to the AWARN Alliance’s presence in Futures Park, AWARN will be highlighted in the ATSC-CTA-NAB “Riding the Road to ATSC 3.0” exhibit in North Hall and Central Lobby and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s booth C3330.

The use cases shown for the first time at NAB 2019 were produced with support of NAB PILOT in association with News-Press & Gazette’s KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara, California and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management. The scenario is based on an actual “debris flow” event on February 2-3 that forced a mandatory evacuation and closed the 101 Highway.

New Focus-Group Tested User Experience Design

AWARN’s demo also will debut the new focus-group tested on-screen design. To improve over initial prototypes for AWARN, the Alliance assembled a team of experts in social science, television design, and emergency management facilitation. In partnership with leading emergency managers, they conducted workshops and formative usability testing last fall in Riverside, California, Maricopa County, Arizona, and New York City. Participants included emergency managers and other public safety officials from multiple jurisdictions, who collectively are responsible for disseminating alerts to more than 40 million people. Research findings were shared with Alliance members.

AWARN Alliance Widening Focus

John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance, said the AWARN Steering Committee has unanimously directed the expansion of AWARN’s mission to include the integration of official alerting and on-going news and information, which will be demonstrated at the NAB Show.

“Widening of our focus to include a wider range of emergency information, both before and after an alert is sent, represents an evolution of AWARN’s role. We see the potential to work with TV news departments in the months ahead and develop a framework for using ATSC 3.0 to serve our communities like never before,” he said.

The alert use case includes alert banners, hazard and evacuation mapping, shelter locations and other critical information accessible by viewers through on-screen icons and the TV remote control. The UX layout includes a picture-in-picture window for optional station news content or continuing programming. A post-event use case includes power outage, hazard zone access maps, and live press conferences with public safety officials.

New Tools for Stations

A highlight of the demonstration, developed through NAB PILOT’S open source initiative with Triveni Digital, will be ATSC 3.0 alert and information integration. This next-gen technology will enable broadcasters to seamlessly manage alerts and associated emergency information templates. The tool will provide a consistent look and feel to viewers, based upon the AWARN UX focus-group findings, along with interactivity, augmented media in live feeds, multi-lingual alerts, and other advanced features. The demos will be displayed on 4K Ultra HD TVs from LG Electronics.

Hybrid Broadcast-Broadband Integration from Japan

Also exhibiting in the AWARN booth in Futures Park will be the IPTV Forum Japan, represented by T-NET Japan and Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ). They will demonstrate an advanced emergency information on-screen portal developed for the hybrid integration of over-the-air broadcasting and broadband in smart TVs. Developed for the highly effective Japanese emergency communications system, T-NET and IIJ plan to adapt the advanced information system for use with ATSC 3.0 transmission. The Forum is a member of the AWARN Alliance, and T-NET Japan also is sponsoring the exhibit.

AWARN at the NAB Show

  • AWARN will be in booth N1435 at Futures Park in the North Hall.
  • Lawson will moderate a session, Connected Cars and Next Gen TV: Infrastructure Decisions Will Be A Key to ATSC 3.0 Adoption, at the In-Vehicle Experience Pavilion & Theater, N3811, on Monday from 4:00 to 4:30 pm (new time).
  • Lawson also will speak from the ATSC Stage on Tuesday of the Show at 12:15 pm.
  • AWARN will be included in:
    • ATSC-CTA-NAB “Riding the Road to ATSC 3.0,” North Hall & Central Lobby.
    • FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS), booth C3330.
  • Also see AWARN member demonstrations of advanced emergency information capabilities at Digital Alert Systems (N4813), OpenZNet (N1637), NAB PILOT (N1037 & N1232), Triveni Digital (N3908), and Unisoft (N4131), among others.

AWARN Fact Sheet

AWARN Alliance
The Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance is a cross-industry, international coalition formed to create the world’s most advanced emergency messaging system. Members include commercial and public broadcasters who reach 90 percent of U.S. households, consumer technology makers, and B2B tech companies. AWARN is based on the Next Generation Television transmission standard (ATSC 3.0), which the FCC has approved for voluntary use by broadcasters. When fully deployed, AWARN can deliver geo-targeted, rich-media alerts to an unlimited number of enabled TVs, connected cars, and handheld devices even when cellular fails or the grid is down.

AWARN Steering Committee

The Alliance is managed by Executive Director John Lawson through his firm Convergence Services, Inc. The AWARN Steering Committee was formed in 2018 as a governance structure for the inter-industry coalition. Members (in alphabetical order by organization) are:

  • John Lawson, AWARN Alliance
  • Pete Sockett, Capitol Broadcasting Company
  • Brian Markwalter, Consumer Technology Association
  • John Taylor, LG Electronics USA Inc.
  • Ed Czarnecki, Monroe Electronics
  • Sam Matheny, National Association of Broadcasters
  • Anne Schelle, Pearl TV
  • Fred Baumgartner, Sinclair Broadcast Group/ONE Media
  • Fred Engel, UNC-TV

Madeleine Nolan, LG senior consultant and chair of Technology Group 3 of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, serves as a non-voting member.

AWARN Alliance Membership, as of March 31, 2019

New-Press & Gazette, Unisoft Corporation, and T-NET Japan are the newest members of the AWARN Alliance.

Broadcasters (Commercial)

  • Capitol Broadcasting Company
  • News-Press & Gazette
  • Pearl TV
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Spectrum Co

Broadcasters (Public)

  • Kentucky Educational Television
  • KPBS/California State University-San Diego
  • UNC-TV/University of North Carolina
  • WKAR/Michigan State University
  • WNET/New York

Technology Companies

  • Digital Alert Systems
  • LG Electronics USA Inc.
  • Monroe Electronics
  • ONE Media
  • OpenZNet
  • The Weather Company an IBM Business
  • Triveni Digital
  • Unisoft Corporation
  • Zenith Electronics LLC

Associations

  • Consumer Technology Association
  • Interactive Television Alliance
  • IPTV Forum Japan (represented by T-Net Japan)
  • National Association of Broadcasters

Service Providers

  • Convergence Services, Inc.
  • Lerman Senter, PLLC
  • Wiley Rein, LLC

AWARN.org

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Major Public Safety Groups Join AWARN Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2017 – The nation’s largest originators of emergency alerts have come together to advise the industry group behind the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN). Designed to work synergistically with existing alerting systems, AWARN will provide major new capabilities to improve disaster warning and recovery information for the American public.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) have joined the new AWARN Advisory Committee to provide technical and operational input to the AWARN Alliance.

By leveraging the powerful new features of next-generation broadcasting, the AWARN Alliance is creating a system that can deliver geo-targeted, rich-media emergency messages to a wide range of enabled consumer devices, including 4K UHD TVs, tablets, smart phones and even connected cars. Television broadcasters and consumer technology companies are planning for the voluntary adoption of Next Gen TV transmission, based on the new ATSC 3.0 technical standard, pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission, expected later this year.

“Our goal in developing AWARN is to create the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system, and Next Gen TV provides the tools to do that,” said John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance. “Our public safety partners will help us define how to use those tools to create messages that save lives and speed recovery,” he said. 

“Without broadcasters, AMBER Alert would not be the successful system we have today. Once again, broadcasters will enable the growth of AMBER Alerts and enhance the current alerting system by adopting new technology,” said Robert Lowery Jr., Vice President, Missing Children Division, NCMEC. “Alerts through ATSC 3.0 will provide rich, useful information to the public, whom law enforcement depends on to be their eyes and ears during the most critical child abductions. We are looking forward to working with AWARN to help define and implement these next-generation protocols.”

NWS Meteorologist Mike Gerber recognizes the promise of advanced emergency alerting with ATSC 3.0. “The National Weather Service is pleased to serve as a technical adviser on the AWARN Advisory Committee as we work collectively to build a Weather-Ready Nation,” he said.

Examples of the rich media alerts enabled by the AWARN system include photos, surveillance video, storm tracks, inundation maps, evacuation routes, road hazards, airborne chemical plume models and safety instructions. AWARN can provide post-event information, such as shelter locations, hospital wait times and other recovery notifications — even if cellular networks and the electric grid are down. AWARN may also deliver Blue Alerts and other law enforcement messages. 

APCO International is the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communications professionals, including those at Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) who issue local emergency alerts. FEMA manages the current Emergency Alert System (EAS), including the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. NCMEC issues AMBER missing child alerts in cooperation with state and local law enforcement agencies. The National Weather Service issues severe weather alerts, accounting for 90 percent of EAS activations each year. 

The AWARN Alliance membership includes commercial and public broadcasters who reach over 85 percent of U.S. households, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Technology Association, the Interactive Television Alliance, and a growing number of U.S. and Korean technology companies and service providers.

AWARN Alliance and Advisory Committee members plan to convene working groups in the second half of the year. The Alliance’s goal is to have a beta version of AWARN alerts available for early adopter television stations that launch Next Gen TV transmission in 2018.

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Members of the AWARN Alliance, as of July 7, 2017

Broadcasters (Commercial)

Capitol Broadcasting Company

Pearl TV*

Sinclair Broadcast Group

 Broadcasters (Public) 

Kentucky Educational Television

KPBS/California State University-San Diego

UNC-TV/University of North Carolina

WKAR/Michigan State University

WNET/New York

 Technology Companies

Aircode

Airwavz

LG Electronics/Zenith

Lokita Solutions/DigiCap

ONE Media

Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems

Triveni Digital

 Trade Association

Consumer Technology Association

Interactive Television Alliance

National Association of Broadcasters

 Service Providers

AEA Implementation Team (ATSC)

Convergence Services, Inc.

MHz Networks

Wiley Rein, LLC

* Pearl TV is a business organization of U.S. broadcast companies whose membership, comprising more than 220 network-affiliated TV stations, consists of nine of the largest broadcast companies in America including: Cox Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Raycom Media, and TEGNA, Inc.

Contact:

AWARN Alliance: John Lawson, [email protected], 703-347-7070

APCO: Meghan Architect, [email protected]

NCMEC: [email protected]

NWS: Mike Gerber, [email protected]

AWARN Advisory Council