Open standard watermarking provider Verance says it is furthering its commitment to advanced emergency alerting by becoming one of the newest members of the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance.
The AWARN Alliance is a voluntary, international coalition of media, consumer electronics, B2B technology firms and trade associations that have come together to utilize Next Gen TV for advanced emergency alerting (AEA), as well as post-alert news and information.
AEA technology allows programmers to deliver far more sophisticated emergency information than currently available. Its capabilities include video, images, maps and real-time updates, as well as the ability to turn on televisions and geo-target messages specifically to households in danger zones, such as those impacted by California’s recent rampant wildfires and discretionary power outages.
The Aspect platform ensures that the metadata and triggers associated with next generation experiences such as AEA can reach 100% of connected televisions across all distribution paths, including ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 over-the-air, cable, satellite and over-the-top services, dramatically increasing the reach of life-saving emergency alerts and information.
Advanced Emergency Alerting most recently would have allowed northern California broadcasters to step in following the highly controversial decision by PG&E – blamed for contributing to the most lethal fire in the state’s history with the Camp Fire a year earlier – to shut off power to high fire-prone areas. The utility’s website crashed just as it was preparing for the discretionary blackouts, leaving PG&E’s impacted residential and business customers without access to vital updates and information. Further south in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties, where two deadly, fast-moving wildfires raged, local TV stations could have utilized AEA to offer real-time alerts and evacuation advisories to more residents directly in the path of danger.
“On behalf of our coalition, I am very happy to welcome Verance to the AWARN Alliance,” said AWARN Executive Director John Lawson. “Aspect watermarking can play a vital role in fulfilling our mission to deliver AEA to the widest possible audience and will enable more lives to be saved during emergency situations.”
Richard Glosser, Head of Business Development for Verance, added, “We are strong AWARN supporters and firmly believe AEA technology will enhance broadcasters’ emergency communications and operational capabilities. The power of our combined technologies ensures that critical alerts and ongoing information will reach the right households at the right time, including in today’s ATSC 1.0 broadcast environment.”
In May, Verance announced the successful completion of an end-to-end broadcaster-to-receiver test using ATSC 3.0 AEA. The test, which was conducted in partnership with Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAL-5 in Raleigh, Digital Alert Systems and Triveni Digital, proved that robust AEA messaging could successfully pass through existing ATSC 1.0 over-the-air, cable and satellite paths, as well as OTT platforms and ATSC 3.0 transmissions from a single insertion point. As a result, every member of the general public with a Next Gen TV or ATSC 3.0 media adapter will be able to receive AEA messaging.