Narrowcast video plays mission-critical role in homeland security exercise

Systems provide real-time, high-quality video transport to Red Cross headquarters, even through power outages.
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Homeland security preparations recently culminated in Strong Angel III, a collaborative demonstration of civil and military cooperation and communication capabilities organized by a partnership of private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Hosted by San Diego State University and held in San Diego from Aug. 20-26, Strong Angel III field-tested effective means of delivering life-saving humanitarian relief and rapidly deployable communications systems in the wake of major real-world disasters.

Strong Angel III simulated the impact of a worldwide pandemic caused by a highly contagious virus, further complicated by a wave of cyber-attacks inflicted by terrorists, crippling critical local infrastructure and systems. Strong Angel III team members conducted field trials and demonstrations of solutions that addressed 49 specific humanitarian relief challenges, both technical and social, that have not yet been adequately overcome in real disaster relief efforts.

Digital video technology played a role in the exercise — for example, Streambox’s real-time ACT-L3 video transport solution, which delivers high-quality video over low data rate connections such as broadband, BGAN and other available IP networks. For the Strong Angel III exercise, Streambox deployed its portable encoders to send video from the San Diego test area to the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., where a Streambox decoder was set up to enable live viewing of reports from San Diego.

The demonstrations included developing solutions for redundant power, adaptive communications, austere network communications and rapid assessment techniques. When the Streambox ACT-L3 portable video transport system was demonstrated, the generator supporting the system went down. While systems in the command truck suffered as a result, the Streambox system switched to battery power and continued to provide the simulated emergency video link to the American Red Cross, where viewers remained unaware of the power interruption until told of it later.

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