In times of emergency, broadcasters traditionally have played a critical role in their local communities by transmitting Emergency Alert System messages from federal, state and local emergency managers.
With the rollout of Mobile DTV, those same sorts of warnings — enhanced with rich media elements transmitted in non-real-time data, such as maps, evacuation routes and other information — can be transmitted to television viewers on the go.
Where the nation's cell phone infrastructure has demonstrated during crises, such as the earthquake that struck Washington, D.C., and other areas on the East Coast last year, that it is incapable of handling the volume of traffic generated by the public in emergencies, broadcasting, with its one-to-many transmission-reception architecture has a long track-record of keeping the public informed when emergencies happen.
The first phase of a trial of a new Mobile-EAS, or M-EAS, system recently concluded and was a hot topic at the 2012 NAB Show Mobile DTV Pavilion. In this interview, Jim Kutzner, senior director of advanced technology for PBS, discusses the trial and where the M-EAS is headed.