FEMA “IPAWS” Integration And Demonstration At NAB 2019

FEMA “IPAWS” Integration and Demonstration at NAB 2019

AWARN and ATSC 3.0 will integrate seamlessly with the FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS.)

AWARN will be on display in the FEMA booth during the 2019 NAB show.

Alerts generated by state, regional, or local authorities already trigger limited broadcast and text alerts to be received by consumers. The addition of AWARN Emergency Alerts means that devices equipped to receive AWARN signals can be easily triggered by IPAWS to display video, photos, audio, and text alerts to a variety of enabled devices.

Update On Advanced Alerting To FCC Chairman

Update on Advanced Alerting to FCC Chairman

On March 21, 2019, the undersigned met with Chairman Ajit Pai and Alexander Sanjenis, acting media advisor, to provide an update on the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN), which utilizes the ATSC 3.0, Next Generation Television (“Next Gen TV”) broadcast transmission standard. AWARN Alliance Executive Director John Lawson described the evolution of the user experience (UX) design for AWARN advanced emergency alerts using Next Gen TV.

To improve over initial prototypes, the Alliance assembled a team of experts in social science, television design, and emergency management facilitation. In partnership with leading emergency managers, they conducted workshops and formative usability testing over September and October 2018 in Riverside, California, Maricopa County, Arizona, and New York City.

Participants included emergency managers and other public safety officials from multiple jurisdictions, who collectively are responsible for disseminating alerts to over 40 million people. The resulting UX has been utilized for new alerting use cases produced in association Ex Parte Notice: AWARN Briefing with Chairman Pai Page 2 with News-Press & Gazette Company’s KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara, California and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

The scenarios are based on an actual “debris flow” event on February 2-3 that forced a mandatory evacuation and closed the 101 Highway. The new UX and use cases will be demonstrated at the NAB Show 2019 next month. Lawson also discussed ATSC 3.0 alerting’s potential as a tool for localized emergency alerts for streaming media, which is the subject of recent legislation, ATSC 3.0 use cases for connected vehicles, and potential synergies between AWARN and Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Lawson also briefed the Chairman on the current membership of the Alliance and efforts to expand the membership base for its voluntary advanced emergency communications mission.

As one of the original joint petitioners for Next Gen TV approval, Lawson expressed his gratitude on behalf of the AWARN Alliance for the Chairman’s continued support for the voluntary transmission of Next Generation Television and advanced alerting by local broadcasters.


DHS S&T Directorate Report On Alerting Tactics Includes AWARN As A Promising Future Alerting Technology.

DHS S&T Directorate Report on Alerting Tactics Includes AWARN as a Promising Future Alerting Technology.

The purpose of this Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Report on Alerting Tactics (Report) is to provide recommendations on effective combinations of alerting tactics for various incident types based upon lessons learned from practitioners. This report examines: ● Nationwide alert originator best practices for reaching communities; ● Effective combinations of current and emerging alerting tools and practices to improve overall public response; and ● Considerations for integrating future technologies (e.g. advanced sensor alerting) and technology platforms (e.g., Next Generation Television (Next Gen TV)) to address current alerting gaps and challenges.



NY Times: ‘Presidential Alert’ Goes To Millions Of Cellphones Across The U.S.

NY Times: ‘Presidential Alert’ Goes to Millions of Cellphones Across the U.S.

At 2:18 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Nov 7, 2018, cellphones across the United States emitted the ominous ring of an emergency presidential alert.

It was the first nationwide test of a wireless emergency alert system, designed to warn people of a dire threat, like a terror attack, pandemic or natural disaster.

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System,” it read. “No action is needed.”

Read the full article here

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’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?

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.

AWARN Advisory Council