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New mobile EAS demonstrated at NAB 2013

With momentum building for an enhancement to the existing Emergency Alert System, the standardized Mobile Emergency Alert System was demonstrated to TV broadcasters at the annual NAB Show. On display in the NAB’s Mobile TV Pavilion (booth N2638) were new applications, including geo-targeting of broadcast alerts and text-to-speech capabilities to help blind and low-vision consumers receive emergency alerts.

Mobile EAS (M-EAS) is a new tool for emergency alerting capability that is moving from the laboratory to the marketplace, building on the successful conclusion of a nationwide development program spearheaded by PBS, LG Electronics, Harris Broadcast and NAB Labs. M-EAS is designed to leverage mobile digital TV broadcasting to deliver reliable, rich media alerts anywhere, anytime.

October’s “Superstorm Sandy” in the Northeast demonstrated both the fragile limits of cell phone networks and the life-saving ability of TV broadcasting during times of emergency. By harnessing the power of terrestrial broadcasting, and specifically mobile digital TV, the field-tested and proven new Mobile Emergency Alert System promises to significantly enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness for the public and first responders alike.

Just in the last month, an open industry standard for Mobile EAS was adopted by the ATSC: M-EAS. This new standard was referenced in an official advisory report to the FCC, and the first Mobile EAS broadcast station reached agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin transmitting FEMA alerts using Mobile EAS.