Deborah D. McAdams /
Mobile EAS to be Standardized by March
Devices and service demoed at CES
LAS VEGAS –
standard for the Mobile Emergency Alert System is expected to be finalized by
March, according to broadcast consultant John Lawson.
“We’re also working closely with the Advanced
Television Systems Committee, which is expected to finish standardization of
Mobile EAS by March,” he said in an announcement about the M-EAS demo at CES in
Las Vegas next week. M-EAS will provide rich media emergency alerts to mobile
Elgato, a manufacturer of mobile DTV receiver
peripherals, and Siano, the chipset maker, are working on M-EAS compatible
platforms, Lawson said, as is LG Electronics.
Prototype LG smartphones at CES will offer not
only audio and visual indications of emergency alerts, but also a vibrating
mode to notify all users (including those with vision or hearing loss) about an
emergency.The simulations will be based
on national and local emergency scenarios, including a hurricane threat in
North Carolina, a tornado in the Northeast and an impending tsunami on the West
The 2013 CES M-EAS demonstrations are being
conducted with the support of the Public Broadcasting Service; LG Electronics, which
developed mobile EAS receivers; LG’s Zenith subsidiary, which provided
technical support and funding; and Harris Broadcast, which equips TV stations
with the necessary equipment. M-EAS requires no additional spectrum and is a
“dual-use” of existing TV transmitters and towers. Standards-based equipment to
upgrade stations for mobile DTV transmission is available commercially.
Purveyors say the M-EAS system would complement
the recently activated 90-character, cellular-based text emergency alert system.
In part, because it provides much deeper, multimedia opportunities with video,
graphics, audio and text; and because it does not suffer chokepoints during
high-traffic periods like cell networks often do.
“Mobile DTV will be a significant enhancement
for local public safety communications because millions of devices will receive
alerts simultaneously – just as easily as reception by a single device.Video, photos, graphics of evacuation routes,
text and audio can all be transmitted through the system to reach anyone with a
mobile device, including those with disabilities,” said Wayne Luplow, vice
president for LG’s Zenith R&D subsidiary, which together with PBS developed
the core technology enabling M-EAS.
The new alerting application developed for M-EAS
utilizes existing standards for implementation. The U.S. broadcast standard for
mobile television, the ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV Standard, uses Internet Protocol
at its core. The use of IP allows the new application to be flexible and
extensible. Data delivery, non-real-time delivery, and electronic service guides
are all included.M-EAS is compliant
with the international Common Alerting Protocol and designed for full
incorporation into the U.S. Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.
The Mobile Emergency Alert System is being
demonstrated again this year at CES. It will be on display at the CES Mobile TV
TechZone in Central Hall, booth 14340.