Mobile-EAS advancements to be highlighted at 2013 CES

Those attending next week’s 2013 International CES in Las Vegas will have the opportunity to see for themselves the live-saving potential of the Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS).

At the CES Mobile TV TechZone in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention center, the broadcast and consumer electronics industries will show how a single broadcast can deliver rich-media alerts to mobile devices. Coming just months after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy and the damage the storm caused to the infrastructure supporting the fragile cellular phone network, the M-EAS demonstration will punctuate the ability of broadcasters to reach the public with emergency information reliability.

"Mobile Digital TV is growing with more broadcasters on the air and more devices available to viewers,” said Convergence Services CEO John Lawson, a long-time expert in emergency alerting and key player behind M-EAS. “Our efforts to deploy the new Mobile Emergency Alert System are also expanding, with the availability of test streams for device manufacturers to incorporate M-EAS as they develop new consumer products.”

Lawson added that the ATSC is expected to complete standardization of M-EAS by March.

Using the newly available test streams, Mobile DTV solution provider Siano and mobile device accessory manufacturer Elgato are working on future products designed to support M-EAS for mobile viewers, in anticipation of the final ATSC standard. (The new test streams are available now online.) Mobile phone manufacturers, including Mobile DTV leader LG Electronics, also are working on incorporating M-EAS capability into their devices. 

Consumer electronics manufacturer LG will show prototype smartphones during the CES demonstrations that 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 demonstrations in the Mobile TV TechZone will show how easy it will be for local TV stations to transmit Mobile DTV signals with rich-media alert content.

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 Coast.

The 2013 CES Mobile EAS demonstrations are being conducted with the support of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), LG Electronics (which developed Mobile EAS receivers) and its Zenith subsidiary (which provided technical support and funding), and Harris Broadcast (which equips TV stations with the necessary equipment).