Advanced Alerting, and New Resources For ATSC 3.0 TV News


Using a new user experience (UX) design for advanced alerting and ongoing emergency information, the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance is demonstrating the power of ATSC 3.0 to integrate official emergency information with local television news coverage at the 2019 NAB Show.

The new on-screen interface and two use cases built on an actual emergency will spotlight how robust multimedia emergency messaging – before, during, and after an emergency – can improve disaster resilience for communities and the nation.

At NAB 2019, in addition to the AWARN Alliance’s presence in Futures Park, AWARN will be highlighted in the ATSC-CTA-NAB “Riding the Road to ATSC 3.0” exhibit in North Hall and Central Lobby and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s booth C3330.

The use cases shown for the first time at NAB 2019 were produced with support of NAB PILOT in association with News-Press & Gazette’s KEYT-3 in Santa Barbara, Calif. and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management. The scenario is based on an actual “debris flow” event on February 2-3 that forced a mandatory evacuation and closed the 101 Highway.

New Focus-Group Tested User Experience Design
AWARN’s demo also will debut the new focus-group tested on-screen design. To improve over initial prototypes for AWARN, the Alliance assembled a team of experts in social science, television design, and emergency management facilitation. In partnership with leading emergency managers, they conducted workshops and formative usability testing last fall in Riverside, California, Maricopa County, Arizona, and New York City. Participants included emergency managers and other public safety officials from multiple jurisdictions, who collectively are responsible for disseminating alerts to more than 40 million people. Research findings were shared with Alliance members.

AWARN Alliance Widening Focus

AWARN Alliance Executive Director John Lawson said the AWARN Steering Committee has unanimously directed the expansion of AWARN’s mission to include the integration of official alerting and on-going news and information, which will be demonstrated at the NAB Show.

“Widening of our focus to include a wider range of emergency information, both before and after an alert is sent, represents an evolution of AWARN’s role,” he said. “We see the potential to work with TV news departments in the months ahead and develop a framework for using ATSC 3.0 to serve our communities like never before.”

The alert use case includes alert banners, hazard and evacuation mapping, shelter locations and other critical information accessible by viewers through on-screen icons and the TV remote control. The UX layout includes a picture-in-picture window for optional station news content or continuing programming. A post-event use case includes power outage, hazard zone access maps, and live press conferences with public safety officials.

New Tools for Stations
A highlight of the demonstration, developed through NAB PILOT’S open source initiative with Triveni Digital, will be ATSC 3.0 alert and information integration. This next-gen technology will enable broadcasters to seamlessly manage alerts and associated emergency information templates. The tool will provide a consistent look and feel to viewers, based upon the AWARN UX focus-group findings, along with interactivity, augmented media in live feeds, multi-lingual alerts, and other advanced features. The demos will be displayed on 4K Ultra HD TVs from LG Electronics.

Hybrid Broadcast-Broadband Integration from Japan
Also exhibiting in the AWARN booth in Futures Park will be the IPTV Forum Japan, represented by T-NET Japan and Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ). They will demonstrate an advanced emergency information on-screen portal developed for the hybrid integration of over-the-air broadcasting and broadband in smart TVs. Developed for the highly effective Japanese emergency communications system, T-NET and IIJ plan to adapt the advanced information system for use with ATSC 3.0 transmission. The Forum is a member of the AWARN Alliance, and T-NET Japan also is sponsoring the exhibit.

AWARN at the NAB Show

  • AWARN will be in booth N1435 at Futures Park in the North Hall.
  • Lawson will moderate a session, Connected Cars and Next Gen TV: Infrastructure Decisions Will Be A Key to ATSC 3.0 Adoption, at the In-Vehicle Experience Pavilion & Theater, N3811, on Monday from 4:00 to 4:30 pm (new time).
  • Lawson also will speak from the ATSC Stage on Tuesday of the Show at 12:15 pm.
  • AWARN will be included in:
    • ATSC-CTA-NAB “Riding the Road to ATSC 3.0,” North Hall & Central Lobby.
    • FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems (IPAWS), booth C3330.
  • Also see AWARN member demonstrations of advanced emergency information capabilities at Digital Alert Systems (N4813), OpenZNet (N1637), NAB PILOT (N1037 & N1232), Triveni Digital (N3908), and Unisoft (N4131), among others.