Florida Division of Emergency Management Trying Mobile DTV During 2013 Hurricane Season

This hurricane season, some Florida emergency responders will have access to news – even if the power is out.  And now that hurricane season is officially underway, TV viewers have a new option for staying informed about area storms — particularly when bad weather threatens cell service.  The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 – November 30.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Florida Association of Broadcasters are joining with mobile TV service provider Dyle to loan up to 100 Dyle TV receivers to first responders. The devices work with products like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

At a news conference at the “Wall of Wind” research center at Florida International University, Bryan Koon, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, said that emergency management officials are confident that Mobile Digital TV will provide another tool by which local officials can share valuable information before, during, and after a disaster.

“The June kick-off of hurricane season serves as a reminder that Floridians must be prepared for disasters of all types. Providing timely information is a key element in our communication strategy,” Koon said.

‘One-to-everyone’ transmission architecture is key

While today’s Mobile Digital TV receivers are not yet fully equipped to respond to the Mobile Emergency Alert System just standardized by ATSC, future devices are expected to incorporate Mobile EAS functionality and permit ready reception of rich media alerts – including maps, moving radar images, video, and text – to viewers.

“During an emergency weather situation, local broadcasters are often the only reliable source of information,” said NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith. “It’s common for cell phone networks to become over-loaded, resulting in customer delays in receiving valuable, timely information. Meanwhile, cable and Internet connections can be spotty.

“Because of broadcasting’s robust ‘one-to-everyone’ transmission architecture, mobile TV is designed to deliver live and local news and information to mobile devices reliably and without interruption,” said Sen. Smith.

“Mobile TV provides an additional resource for volunteer organizations to receive information in affected areas after a disaster,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman. “As a part of the State Emergency Response Team, Volunteer Florida is excited to utilize these partnerships to further support Florida’s communities after a disaster.”

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