SpectraRep Releases Results of NextGen TV-Based Emergency Communications Datacast

SpectraRep
(Image credit: SpectraRep)

CHANTILLY, Va.—SpectraRep has released the results of a successful demo of the advanced emergency datacasting features of the NextGen Broadcast (ATSC 3.0) standard that was done during the 2022 U.S. Marine Corps Marathon (opens in new tab).

Working with the Sinclair Broadcast Group/ONE Media 3.0, SpectraRep deployed its IncidentOne Datacast Solution using the NextGen Broadcast standard to deliver encrypted video, alerts, and file sharing among eight public safety agencies. 

Those agencies included the DC Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (DC HSEMA). All data was delivered securely over-the-air without the need for internet or wireless data transmission (LTE) services via SpectraRep’s proprietary IncidentOne Datacast Solution to support a robust security environment, the company said. 

IncidentOne Datacast is an enterprise-grade, wireless, emergency, communications solution that uses the power of over-the-air digital television (DTV) technology to deliver operational and crisis incident data quickly and securely, the company said. 

For the Marine Corps Marathon, SpectraRep utilized ATSC 3.0 digital broadcast spectrum from their broadcast partner Sinclair Broadcast Group/ONE Media 3.0 to deliver emergency communications securely. The IncidentOne Datacast Solution layered a secure wireless network on top of existing communication procedures to facilitate interagency sharing of data during the marathon, the company reported. 

“Our work on the Marine Corps Marathon is another proof point that our datacasting technology enhances public safety communications by delivering the ability to offer reliable communications across agencies easily and efficiently during large-scale public events,” said Mark O’Brien, president of SpectraRep. “We are very proud of the strong partnership SpectraRep solutions have enabled between technology providers and broadcasters.”

Prior to the marathon, SpectraRep deployed IncidentOne Datacast software and datacasting receivers from their technology partners, DigiCAP and West Pond Technologies, in multiple capital region agency facilities and vehicles. Sites ranged from hardened command posts to mobile command vehicles deployed across the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. Encrypted streaming video, files, and alerts were transmitted over WIAV, a Sinclair Broadcast Group NextGen Broadcast-enabled station, to agencies equipped with IncidentOne receivers connected to television antennas. Select agencies used an online dashboard to view multiple cameras from participating agencies, or received targeted video over the air, SpectraRep reported.  

“One of the most important benefits of ATSC 3.0 datacasting,” added O’Brien, “is that it is a significant enabler in the delivery of emergency information. With ATSC 3.0 datacasting, public safety departments can communicate and exchange alerts without having to rely on cellular systems that can become overloaded at large-scale events.”

Mark Aitken, president of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s technology subsidiary, One Media 3.0, noted that “The NextGen Broadcast standard is a tremendous advancement to the industry, especially when it comes to using it for emergency communications. Broadcasters around the country can provide this advanced technology to help save lives.”

The Marathon hosted over 30,000 participants involving public safety organizations from multiple states and localities. Eight local and federal agencies incorporated datacasting into their emergency management enforcement and communications toolkit.

One notable outcome of the demo was that participating agencies (including DC-DHS) successfully shared and received encrypted streaming video, targeted alerts, files, and information delivered over the air in ATSC 3.0 without internet or LTE service.

Another major takeaway was that multiple agencies were able to receive the same alerts in real time during the marathon, including one notification about a runner missing from the designated course, with description and other identifying information.

Technology partners in the datacasting project included DigiCAP Ltd., West Pond Technologies, Sinclair Broadcast Group (WIAV) and their technology group One Media 3.0, E/M Wave, Winegard, Osprey Video, and SpectraRep LLC. Key Association partners include America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), ATSC Advanced Television Systems Committee, and the NAB National Association of Broadcasters.

A case study for the project is available on the SpectraRep website (opens in new tab)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.