UNC-TV Using Next Gen TV Tools to Assist First Responders

Implementation of Next Gen tech will be part of a new public safety research center.
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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—As part of a new partnership between UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Information Technology and the Wireless Research Center of North Carolina for a public safety research center, new products and services will be developed from ATSC 3.0/Next Gen TV applications for first responders and public safety response.

UNC-TV had previously been recognized by NAB’s PILOT program for its proposal to use the ATSC 3.0 standard for the public safety community.

UNC-TV engineer Moh Fatmi, monitors the station's ATSC 3.0 reception as well as the 911 dispatches being sent over 3.0.

UNC-TV engineer Moh Fatmi, monitors the station's ATSC 3.0 reception as well as the 911 dispatches being sent over 3.0.

All of the organizations that make up this partnership believe that Next Gen TV will be able to assist public safety organizations throughout North Carolina. The Public Research Center’s mission will be to evaluate and analyze potential applications and work with organizations and individuals to realize them. The initial focus will be Next Gen TV technologies, but there will be the possibility of expanding to future communication and broadcast technologies.

“To put it simply, public safety organizations can save more lives if they can communicate faster, make their information more accurate and increase the reliability and reach of their networks, “said Red Grasso, director of the First Responder Emerging Technologies program with NC DIT. “... I am extremely excited and optimistic that Next Gen TV may help with all three of these areas.”

“With UNC-TV’s vast statewide broadcast network we can leverage this future technology well beyond television programming and include critical messaging that can save lives,” added Fred Engel, UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina’s chief technology officer.

In its first year, the research center will operate out of the WRC in Wake Forest, N.C. The initial batch of funding will target acquiring and operating equipment for supporting and expanding research on the application and utility of Next Gen TV technology to emergency responder communication devices. The research center is being designed as an environment for Next Gen TV exploration, training and testing that will provide access, resources and expertise to state and national organizations and agencies, including commercial and non-commercial broadcasters.

The center is expected to use radio frequency “quiet rooms” and laboratory quality test equipment to test and measure the transmission and reception capability of Next Gen TV for potential devices for first responders. Standards will be developed to use the technology following initial proof of concept validation.

For a comprehensive source of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.