TVTechnology: AWARN To The Rescue

TVTechnology: AWARN To The Rescue

Advanced emergency warning is on the way thanks to a 3.0 commitment from major broadcasters
Advanced emergency warning is on the way thanks to a 3.0 commitment from major broadcasters. Call it coincidence. Call it synchronicity. Call it whatever you want, but today three items crossed my desk that left me shaking my head.
First, Reuters’ Brian Snyder reported in “Lack of power, phones hampering rescue efforts after Hurricane Michael,” that hundreds of volunteers from Texas had headed to Florida to help locate more than 1,100 people—mostly in Panama City— who have gone missing following Hurricane Michael.Read the full article here >
The ATSC 3.0 Emergency Alert: A Boon For Communities And Local TV Stations (VIDEA Corporate Blog)

The ATSC 3.0 Emergency Alert: A Boon for Communities and Local TV Stations (VIDEA Corporate Blog)

It happens after so many disasters: questions about the performance of emergency alert systems. Victims often complain that alerts came too late or not at all. In California’s catastrophic Camp Fire, the Cal OES State and Fire rescue chief told WNCT, “We need a communications system, not just alert and warning, that is resilient and reliable for not only the public but for us in public service.”

Read the full article here >

Scientific American: How Will Trump’s Emergency Text Alerts Work?

Scientific American: How Will Trump’s Emergency Text Alerts Work?

By Dina Fine Maron on September 20, 2018

Responding to fears of an imminent Soviet nuclear attack, in 1951 Pres. Harry Truman set up a national system enabling the president to quickly notify the public of an impending national security threat via a cross-country relay chain of AM radio stations. It used characteristic blaring warning tones and became a precursor of the Emergency Alert System still in use today. “There are certain stations across every market that listen for those tones and then retransmit the alert to other stations in their market,” says John Lawson, an emergency alert expert who has advised the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its modern warning systems.

Read the full article here >

TVTechnology: Hurricane Florence In A 5G World

One can only hope that wireless companies and broadcasters put aside turf wars for the sake of public safety
Oct 16, 2018

COWS and COLTS and Goats, oh my! No Dorothy, this isn’t Oz. It’s the Carolinas and Georgia as Hurricane Florence bore down on its way to landfall.

An interesting article by Angela Moscaritolo in PC Magazine online, “How Mobile Carriers Are Responding to Hurricane Florence,” described the steps carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were taking to prepare for the aftermath of the hurricane.

She wrote: “…Verizon said it’s readying a fleet of mobile equipment—including Cells on Wheels (COWS), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS), and generators on a trailer (Goats)—which can be rolled into hard-hit areas in need of extra network capacity.” The other carriers were taking similar steps, the article said.

Read the full article here >

AWARN Alliance Showcases ATSC 3.0 Advanced Alerting with Hybrid Over-the-Air + Broadband Solutions at NAB Show 2018

Landmark International Agreement to be Signed

LAS VEGAS, April 5, 2018 – At the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas, April 7 – 12, the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance is showcasing the power of ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcasting, integrated with optional broadband connectivity, to provide the world’s most advanced emergency alerting capabilities.

After a year of catastrophic natural and manmade disasters, the need to upgrade America’s fragmented alerting system has become more urgent than ever. Marking its second anniversary, the AWARN Alliance continues to build support and engage internationally.

International Expansion

A highlight of the 2018 NAB Show will be the AWARN Alliance’s expanded global footprint, commemorated with the signing of a three-way agreement among the Alliance, NAB and RAPA – the Korea Radio Promotion Association. Among other terms, AWARN and RAPA will take steps to form a global alliance for the future co-development of advanced alerting based on the next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. A memorandum of understanding will be signed in a ceremony on the opening day of the show, Monday, April 9.

“From the beginning, U.S. and South Korean companies have supported AWARN, starting with LG,” Lawson said. Aircode and DigiCap have since joined the Alliance. “Along with NAB, we’re honored to be engaging with our colleagues at RAPA for continued co-development of Next Gen TV, including a joint global initiative for ATSC 3.0 advanced alerting,” Lawson said.

Continued Growth and Increased Engagement

Support for the AWARN Alliance has more than doubled in 2018, with existing members renewing and new members joining. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Pearl TV in particular have stepped up their involvement, supporting increased engagement with alerting authorities and development of an end-to-end alerting beta solution to support early adopter ATSC 3.0 stations in 2019.

The newest member of the Alliance, contributing as a technology partner, is The Weather Company, an IBM Business. The Weather Company brings to the table deep expertise in severe weather alerting and geo-targeting that supports AWARN’s mission.

Evolving Mission 

“We deeply appreciate the renewed commitment of our founding members and the addition of new ones,” said AWARN Alliance Executive Director John Lawson. “Increasingly, the Alliance is providing the nexus between the Next Gen TV development community and the nation’s emergency managers. Our goal is not only to create the architecture for delivering geo-targeted advanced alerts, but also design rich media and accessible messages that lead to life-saving action by the public,” he said.

Lawson pointed to a March 14 workshop co-convened by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the AWARN Alliance and hosted by the Consumer Technology Association in Arlington, VA. According to Lawson, the facilitated small-group discussion produced valuable insights from local, state and federal alert authorities about defining future alert capabilities.

Hybrid Alert Integration

The interactive “hybrid” demonstrations of AMBER alerts and hazardous materials (“HazMat”) alerts at the NAB Show will leverage the revolutionary IP-based capabilities of Next Gen TV. Several standards in the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards can be utilized to deliver advanced alerts, including the A/344 standard, approved last December, that addresses interactive content. AWARN alerts are being designed for delivery over-the-air, and if ATSC 3.0-enabled smart TVs or mobile devices are connected to the Internet, new capabilities like social media integration and interactive maps are now possible.

With a focus on the user experience/user interface (UX/UI), the AWARN Alliance has contracted with OpenZNet, a Mountain View, CA, software development company and market leader for ATSC 3.0 delivery through broadcaster applications. OpenZNet also is a prime contractor for PILOT, which underscores the close collaboration between NAB and the Alliance for standards-based AWARN development.

AWARN NAB Show Highlights

The AWARN Alliance will have an increased presence at the 2018 NAB Show, including:

  • AWARN Booth N1739FP, Futures Park, North Hall (along the back wall between PILOT and Korea UHD On-Air, near NHK)
  • Korea UHD On-Air, Booth N1134FPFutures Park, North Hall
  • Featured exhibit in the Road to ATSC 3.0 booth, LVCC Grand Lobby
  • AWARN-NAB-RAPA International Agreement Signing Ceremony – included in Futures Park Opening Press Conference, Booth N1534FP, 3:00PM, Monday, April 9 – followed by reception

AWARN Alliance Membership

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
  • DigiCap
  • Digital Alert Systems
  • LG Electronics
  • Lokita Solutions
  • ONE Media
  • OpenZNet
  • Monroe Electronics
  • The Weather Company an IBM Business
  • Trilithic Inc.
  • Triveni Digital
  • Viavi Solutions
  • Zenith Electronics LLC

Trade Associations

  • Consumer Technology Association
  • Interactive Television Alliance
  • National Association of Broadcasters

Service Providers

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

AWARN Advisory Committee

The AWARN Advisory Committee (AAC), composed of the nation’s largest alert originators, also supports the Alliance.

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • National Weather Service
  • Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials
  • Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate.

AAC organizations are not members of the AWARN Alliance but support its goals by providing input on the aggregation of alert content, alert interfaces, and the social science elements required for actionable alerts.

CTA Joins AWARN Alliance to Boost Advanced Emergency Alerting

WASHINGTON, DC, July 18, 2017 – The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ is joining broadcasters, technology companies, and public safety agencies to develop and deploy the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN), the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system, as part of the shift to Next-Generation television.

By leveraging the powerful new features of Next-Gen TV, 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 Ultra HD television sets, tablets, smart phones, and connected cars. AWARN alerts will provide a major upgrade to the alerting systems available to the American public today.

Television broadcasters and consumer technology companies are planning for the voluntary adoption of Next Gen TV transmission, based on the ATSC 3.0 technical standard, pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“Having CTA assume a leading role in the AWARN Alliance is a major step forward for advanced emergency alerting. CTA represents the device makers that are essential to creating the Next Gen TV ‘ecosystem’ that is the backbone for delivering the new alerts. CTA also brings enormous technical and operational know-how in helping us create the voluntary roadmap to an end-to-end system,” said John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance.

“The AWARN Alliance represents the market-based innovation that CTA embraces,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “CTA and the Alliance have already joined forces with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) in requesting the FCC adopt minimal new rules for the voluntary implementation of Next Gen TV. We are happy to extend that support to help bring to life one of the key public benefits of Next Gen TV: advanced emergency alerting with AWARN.”

Next Gen TV was launched in South Korea on May 31 and is on track for initial launches in the U.S. in the 2018-19 timeframe, assuming that the FCC rulemaking concludes this year as expected.

Examples of the rich media alerts enabled by the AWARN system include photos, surveillance video, storm tracks, inundation maps, evacuation routes, airborne chemical plume models, and safety instructions. The system also can provide shelter locations, hospital wait times, and other recovery information after a disaster, even if cellular networks and the electric grid are down. In addition, the system can deliver Blue Alerts and safety information such as highway hazards.

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

A new AWARN Advisory Committee of major alert originators was just announced. The Committee includes The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Weather Service, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.

CTA will collaborate with the AWARN Alliance and Advisory Committee in the second half of the year to focus on technical and operational details of the advance alerting system in preparation for the U.S. launch of Next Gen TV products and services.

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Members of the AWARN Alliance, as of July 18, 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

LG Electronics/Zenith

Lokita Solutions/DigiCap

ONE Media

Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems

Triveni Digital

Associations

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.

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]

KBS UHD Broadcasting

KBS will usher in an era of ultra-high-definition quality terrestrial broadcasting starting in May. The use of domestically developed new devices and technology has attracted keen international attention.

Trial broadcasts began last month ahead of the formal launch of an ultra-high-definition television service scheduled for this May. The drama “Descendants of the Sun” and special documentaries are airing on the UHD channels of KBS 1 and 2 TV. An international conference was held to introduce the UHD broadcasting industry to Korea’s technology at its center. Key U.S. broadcasting industry figures attended and showed great interest in Korea’s UHD terrestrial broadcasts.

Congressional Testimony: AWARN to Save Lives

Members of Congress heard all about AWARN’s benefits during the U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee’s May 17 hearing on emergency alerting. NAB CTO Sam Matheny testified on behalf of the industry, and his compelling demonstration of  AWARN’s capabilities during the hearing was well received. Matheny highlighted how AWARN’s “public safety benefits of Next Gen TV and advanced emergency alerting can significantly improve the content, pervasiveness, accessibility and reliability of America’s emergency alerting systems and hopefully save lives.”

Download the full statement from Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny

AWARN a ‘Rare Opportunity,’ Alliance Tells FCC

In comments filed May 9 with the Federal Communications Commission in response to the FCC’s Next Gen TV Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the AWARN Alliance “urges the Commission to adopt the proposed rules to allow the permissive use of the Next Generation broadcast television transmission standard and hasten the day when the American public can take full advantage of AWARN’s many benefits.”

 “AWARN presents a rare opportunity to dramatically improve America’s public safety communications capability. AWARN alerting can provide this public benefit by dual-use of the nation’s existing television broadcasting transmission capacity and the new technology of Next Gen TV,” states Executive Director John Lawson on behalf of the alliance.

Download the full AWARN Alliance Comments on the Next Gen TV NPRM below:

AWARN Advisory Council