With ATSC 3.0’s voluntary rollout transforming the ways consumers can get important information and entertainment from broadcast TV, the new broadcast television standard is also bringing a new capability — emergency information — in the “IPTV” environment.
It’s an advancement in technology successfully demonstrated in Boise, Idaho, by a company that is relying on Digital Alert Systems technology to power its product.
In what is being heralded as an “industry first,” Idaho-based Evoca TV has delivered emergency information to video subscribers tuned to programming delivered over the internet.
Evoca says its achievement is the result of “over a year of careful study about how emergency alert information might best be delivered to viewers who are watching streaming shows that don’t originate from a local broadcast TV source.”
As RBR+TVBR has shared in previous stories, Evoca is a pay-TV service that relies on local NEXTGEN TV lighthouse and internet-delivered programming that is streamed to subscribers and integrated into a single user interface.
And, Evoca, notes, it is powered in part by the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast technology, which includes a provision for advanced emergency alert messages.
For Evoca, the achievement is a rebuke of the motion picture industry and other groups who commented to the FCC that the transmission of emergency information on streaming channels represents a departure from the current method of relying solely on local broadcasters. Furthermore, Evoca says the groups dissuaded the Commission by claiming that geotargeting alerts in streaming content is “technically impracticable.”
“Evoca, which is part streaming service and part local TV broadcaster, has successfully demonstrated just that sort of timely, localized alert delivery using its hybrid network,” the company said on Monday.
Michael Chase, Vice President of Systems for Evoca, added, “Typically, emergency alerts aren’t delivered to viewers who are watching through the usual conditional access systems. Multichannel providers rely on local broadcasters to trigger alerts on locally broadcast channels only. But because the Evoca solution is both an over-the-air and an over-the-top system, we’re able to deliver alerts directly to the viewer.”
Evoca calls its product the “Evoca Scout.” And, Chase says, “The system has the potential to deliver early warnings to viewers about severe weather or other impending dangerous events or disasters. Since Evoca controls both the transmission and reception of signals that reach the viewer, we have the ability to offer a unique solution to enhance safety.”
Digital Alert Systems VP of Business Development Bill Robertson commented, “When first introduced to the team at Evoca, we were excited to be part of their unique hybrid architecture,. They are leveraging the benefits of Next-Gen TV for forward delivery, combined with an over-the-top solution for additional services.”
The Digital Alert Systems’ DASDEC platform is integrated within the Evoca network to provide emergency information throughout the ecosystem. Evoca’s encoding architecture processes local and national alerts, routing the information to the necessary devices based on specific criteria.
Now that the test has concluded, Chase says Evoca is continuing to develop “an even more reliable method for taking full advantage of the emergency messaging capabilities of the new broadcast standard.”
He concludes, “In many ways, this is still new territory. We’re continuing to study the best approach to make certain that viewers who are tuned to any channel on the Evoca network can get an immediate notification should there be an emergency.”