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America’s Emergency Network, LLC to Deploy ATSC 3.0 Advanced Emergency Information, Related Services Nationwide

ATSC 3.0
(Image credit: ATSC)

LAS VEGAS—America’s Emergency Network, LLC has launched an Advanced Emergency Information (AEI) network using ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV. With the introduction of AEN, authorized alert originators such as the National Weather Service, ShakeAlert and local emergency managers will be able to send actionable, geo-targeted rich-media messages even when power, cellular and internet fail. 

AEN Alert is a rich-media-capable emergency notification system that rapidly delivers secure, emergency messages to residents, schools, hospitals, and commercial and industrial facilities, providing timely warnings before disaster strikes. These alerts will deliver actionable information, such as evacuation routes, flood maps, and video snippets from authorized and trusted originators (such as sheriffs and emergency managers). AEN will help save lives and reduce injuries by giving people the information they need to take protective action. 

AEN marries ATSC 3.0 to the existing Alert FM, which uses the Radio Data System in 12 states. (RDS delivers call letters, song and title information to car radios.) Alert FM serves an extensive network of local alert originators, which is their current customer base, and distributes through FM radio stations. Alert FM is licensed by USGS to deliver to deliver ShakeAlert earthquake warnings on the West Coast in five seconds or less. The integrated FM/ATSC 3.0 system will provide multiple redundant backup transmitters connected by satellite to provide secure transmission of a single point-to-multipoint messaging, layered by geo-targeted groupings. 

“We are excited to leverage proven technology to deploy AEN Alert to deliver actionable emergency messages across the U.S.,” says John Lawson, co-founder and president of AEN, LLC. “As a long-time advocate of geo-targeted, rich-media emergency notifications for tornados, fires, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, and earthquakes, AEN Alert will be a tremendous benefit for increasing public safety in all our communities.” (Through his consulting firm, Lawson also serves as executive director of the AWARN Alliance, a coalition that promotes and advocates for the use of NextGen TV for AEI, the industry term for the range of ATSC 3.0-enabled emergency messaging from alerts to on-going information.) 

Protecting California citizens during emergency situations can be enhanced with rich-media alert solutions leveraging NextGen TV, says Joe Berry, president/CEO of the California Broadcasters Association. "The recent advanced alerting roundtable in Santa Barbara has provided a path for NextGen TV to enhance broadcasters’ vital role in communicating emergency alerts throughout California and across the U.S.," he said. 

“AEN has provided valuable insight into the emergency notification delivery industry,” adds Alex Day, business development director for Tolka TV, a producer of cable, satellite, terrestrial and IP media related applications, which recently announced a partnership with Atlanta DTV to develop ATSC 3.0 products. “We are pleased to be co-operating in creating the software and hardware technology required to deliver rich-media and actionable emergency alerts. 

"Tolka will be the signaling server and middleware partner, providing the link between the AEN Alert service and broadcasters to insert the signals. We also will be developing supporting apps," he continued. "Additionally, we will work together with AEN to deliver mobile, battery-operated devices that will operate even when power, cell, and internet fail.” 

At the NAB Show, Tolka will be demonstrating the AEN Alert hybrid RDS and ATSC 3.0 receiver dongle at the Altanta DTH booth (W7903) in the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall. 

In the coming months, AEN will launch several pilots across the U.S. and build out the AEN product line. Besides enabling AEI with NextGen TV and selling alert receiver devices, AEN is developing two other revenue streams: 

  • AEN TV: C-SPAN- type linear, reality programming from emergency managers for distribution over NextGen TV and streaming – ad supported.
  • AEN Archive: library of licensed emergency manager-generated content – fee-based.

At the NAB Show and in days after, AEN says it will be meeting with potential strategic partners in the broadcasting, infrastructure, and receiver industries.