Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate Joins AWARN Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, December 6, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has joined other public safety organizations in an advisory committee for the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN). Based on the Next Generation Television broadcast transmission standard (also known as ATSC 3.0), AWARN will provide major new capabilities to improve disaster warning and recovery information for the American public.

The AWARN Advisory Committee was formed to provide technical and operational input to the AWARN Alliance, a cross-industry coalition that is developing the new alerting system. DHS S&T joins the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, the National Weather Service, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials who joined the AWARN Advisory Committee last summer.

AWARN will leverage the powerful new features of Next Gen TV to improve alerting and disaster recovery. At its November 16 meeting, the Federal Communications Commission gave approval to broadcasters to begin voluntary transmission in the new standard. The AWARN Alliance is creating a system that will be capable of delivering geo-targeted, rich-media emergency messages to a wide range of enabled consumer devices, including 4K UHD TVs, tablets, smart phones, and connected cars.

“Our goal is to save lives and reduce the financial cost of disasters and other public emergencies by creating the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system. Next Gen TV provides the tools to do that,” said John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance. “In concert with our other public safety partners, DHS S&T will leverage its social science and other expertise to help us design the most effective warning messages,” he said.

Created by Congress in 2003, S&T conducts basic and applied research, development, demonstration, testing and evaluation activities relevant to the homeland security mission. Lawson said DHS S&T’s support of research into the social science of alerting and human response makes their participation especially valuable for AWARN development.

AWARN Alliance members include commercial and public broadcasters who reach 90 percent of U.S. households, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Technology Association, LG Electronics, the Interactive Television Alliance, and a growing number of U.S. and Korean technology companies and service providers.

The AWARN Alliance will begin work in 2018 to develop an end-to-end AWARN technical solution, with input from its advisory committee. The Alliance’s goal is to have a beta version of AWARN alerting available for early adopter television stations that launch Next Gen TV transmission in 2019.

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