An industry group is promoting the concept that Mobile DTV could be used for national alerting. Another major channel for distributing alerts could be emerging. Remember when the TV industry first converted to digital HDTV? Well, there’s a new version of digital TV developing in the U.S. that could open interesting possibilities for alerting. Standards are being developed for Mobile DTV (Digital TV), which would allow broadcasters to provide new services to handheld devices. Alerting is on the table.
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.
Members of the AWARN Alliance, as of July 18, 2017
Capitol Broadcasting Company
Sinclair Broadcast Group
Kentucky Educational Television
KPBS/California State University-San Diego
UNC-TV/University of North Carolina
WKAR/Michigan State University
Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems
Consumer Technology Association
Interactive Television Alliance
National Association of Broadcasters
AEA Implementation Team (ATSC)
Convergence Services, Inc.
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.