M-EAS Approved As Finalized Standard

ATSC President Mark Richer on approval of the Mobile Emergency Alert Service: “We have learned from past events that a natural or man-made disaster can have a devastating impact on communications networks, which quickly become overburdened.”

The Mobile Emergency Alert Service is a completed standard, offering a range of possibilities to send out multimedia alerts to mobile devices that go beyond just text message alerts.

Members of the Advanced Standards Committee voted to make M-EAS — which requires no additional spectrum — a finalized standard March 11.

“We have learned from past events that a natural or man-made disaster can have a devastating impact on communications networks, which quickly become overburdened,” said ATSC President Mark Richer, in a statement. “The ability to reach millions of people with a signal transmission using mobile DTV for emergency alerts can help save lives with instantaneous transmission of news, maps, video, audio and other rich media.”

To take advantage of the backwards-compatible M-EAS standard, consumers will need a mobile DTV receiver for their smartphone or tablet, such as Elgato’s EyeTV Mobile, which is currently available only for iPhone and iPad users. If equipped with a receiver, M-EAS has the ability to trigger a banner that illustrates the alert and send along, in non-real-time, a series of rich-media information.

Jay Adrick, chairman of the group that developed M-EAS, gave an example in a previous interview with TVNewsCheck, that in a hurricane zone, a local broadcaster would have the ability to send over evacuation maps and weather radar images. “There is any number of things they could send over and it’s all part of the overall stream.”

An M-EAS implementation team is working with a number of companies, Richer says, including consumer electronic manufacturers, professional equipment manufacturers and broadcasters.

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