AWARN’s 2018 NAB Show

The 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas was eventful for the AWARN Alliance. Our Next Gen TV alerting simulations were on display in three booths: The AWARN and the Korea UHD On-Air booths both in Futures Park, North Hall; and the Road to ATSC 3.0 Hub in the Grand Lobby.

The press conference and ribbon cutting at the Road To ATSC 3.0 Hub  – at 8am on the opening Monday morning – set the tone for the exciting Next Gen TV innovations on display at the show. Demonstrations of 4K Ultra HD TV, immersive audio, high dynamic range video, personalized and addressable content, and advanced emergency alerting made for compelling viewing. The autonomous vehicle parked in the booth was a major draw too.  We heard great reviews of the autonomous shuttle that was transporting attendees

between the Central and South Halls throughout the show, but sadly we missed that bus!

In our booth in Futures Park, AWARN was thrilled to unveil UXUI for a companion device use-case. Demonstrated on a Samsung tablet, we showed how an alert may be displayed if received via a gateway device or other WIFI connection.

A steady flow of conference goers passed through the AWARN booth, including a number of congressional groups and FCC staffers, brought through by the overworked but greatly appreciated NAB staff! And our sincere thanks goes to LG for providing the sleek, sexy, 4K TV’s for the booth.

 

Although not officially part of the PILOT booth, AWARN’s use case simulations were on display as part of PILOT’s integrated Next Gen TV broadcaster app, proving that without the use of a gateway device, interactive emergency alerts can be broadcast and received OTA directly to the TV. Our thanks to So Vang, NAB’s VP of Advanced Technology, for including AWARN in the PILOT app.

AWARN worked closely with RAPA – the Korea Radio Promotion Association – before the NAB show to have an ATSC 3.0 advanced alerting presence at the Korea UHD On-Air booth. Korean government officials, including from the Ministry of Science and Information Communication Technology (MSIT), were shown the AWARN presentation at Korea UHD On-Air on the Monday morning, a great prelude for what was to come later that day!

Monday afternoon provided one of the highlights of the show for AWARN: the signing of the milestone three-way memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the AWARN Alliance, NAB and RAPA. The three organizations committed to work collaboratively on Next Gen TV development in the U.S. and Korea, with a special focus on advanced emergency alerting. The MOU calls for the development and execution of plans for “establishing a global alliance on emergency alerting via next-generation TV broadcasting using ATSC 3.0,” and to “share use cases and service scenarios related to next-generation TV broadcasting using ATSC 3 in the U.S., Korea, and around the globe.”

Signing the agreement were NAB CTO Sam Matheny, RAPA CEO Dr. Jong-ki Chung and AWARN Alliance Executive Director John Lawson.

Of course the other highlight for our executive director (perhaps eclipsing all else) was meeting the incomparable Vanna White, fellow South Carolinian and co-host of the Wheel of Fortune, at the NAB Achievement in Broadcasting Dinner, where she was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

My highlight?  Meeting Washington DC 94.7 Fresh FM’s Tommy McFly. And walking 33 miles in 7 days may not be the record among Alliance members, but let’s not forget I did half those miles in heals! Are pedicures a legitimate business expense?

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