By Jay Adrick, Harris Broadcast, Chairman ATSC Mobile EAS Implementation Team
Broadcasters, hardware manufacturers and software suppliers are making great progress on developing the Mobile Emergency Alert System’s “Content Manager,” a software-based solution designed to integrate with a station’s existing emergency alerting system. Working prototypes are coming shortly.
Based on the work of the Advanced Television System Committee’s Implementation Team for Mobile EAS, this effort has involved research to determine how various stations relay alerts that come from external sources as well as from the usual “chain of command” at a station when emergencies occur – whether that’s something delivered by Mother Nature or a man-made emergency.
Broadcasters themselves are heavily involved in this effort, showing equipment and software suppliers how information comes in and then how assets such as video, maps, graphs, and other rich media should be deployed to viewers using the Mobile Digital TV platform to devices equipped to receive Mobile EAS. In some cases, it’s the News Director who makes final decisions. Other TV stations might find station Master Control in the driver’s seat.
Triveni Digital, Expway and Monroe Electronics are playing active roles in this process to develop a block of software that will reside on the station’s mobile signaling server. Triveni expects to have a first-generation software release by Thanksgiving time, and Monroe should also have a driver and output port devoted to Mobile EAS soon,.
A key target is to complete the assignment with a minimum of investment by individual stations – probably under $4,000 per installation. Forward-looking capability is also being built into the new system, with additional features added through future software updates.
Now that the new M-EAS Content Manager is on the near-term horizon, broadcasters are poised to launch emergency alerts that harness the power of mobile TV broadcasting.