[opendtv] Re: News: DTV Converter Box announcements

  • From: "Kon Wilms" <kon@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 16:25:45 -0800

I beg to differ, and no doubt all the people I have dealt with at NOAA
and PBS stations would also feel the same way.

Video when used in the format that mass media uses to 'inform' in
times of emergency is indeed useless. But take a situation where you
are not familiar with your surroundings - you're a tourist, or an
emergency worker 'imported' to help deal with the situation. A map on
a TV screen is going to show you more detail in two seconds than a
voice can detail in ten times that amount of time. Plus, the
information is persistent. How do you inform people about a spreading
plume of toxic material for example? Wait.. you don't. Or you stand
there and wait for the alert to repeat itself on the radio.

Radio annoucement of alerts stems largely from the EAS alerting system
mentality with its inspiration coming from WW2 air raid sirens and
annoucements made over loudspeakers. It was fine for it's time but
really the implementation was a joke. Not to mention the complete lack
of security in the system itself. We have come a ways since then, and
in fact the new emergency alerting standards defined by OASIS and
being adopted by many people scale up from stuff like voiceXML and
plain text all the way up to images, polygons and other data that is
actually useful for both video and audio use.

Last you have the advantage of not having all these stovepipe systems
with multiple points of interfacing. Radio may be simple and effective
but it really isn't. There is still an announcer reading that alert,
which was generated by NOAA, from a called in alert by a local agency,
and typed in as a plain text file - which 99% of the time is
impossible to route via machine because there is no fixed standard to
hold to for entering the data (not the codes)!

I always stop to think what the situation would have been had people
in the Katrina area had access to better alerting mechanisms. And to
think the last company I was at practically handed the govt. a
alerting system on a platter that was working end to end. I guess when
a solution rears it's head folks like Brownie and the buddy network
can no longer continue their boondoggle of an existence milking the
taxpayers for all it's worth!



On Jan 24, 2008 3:27 PM, Hunold, Ken <KRH@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> People in the path of a hurricane have access to all sorts of imagery as
> the storm approaches.  I would say that if power goes out while you are
> deciding what to do, it is already too late!  After the storm hits,
> radio is an excellent source of information.  Transmission facilities
> are often physically diverse, providing a certain amount of redundancy
> and reliability of transmissions.  Portable radios are plentiful,
> storing extra batteries is not difficult, and you can listen while you
> are otherwise occupied recovering from the disaster.
> On 9/11 I was 10 blocks away from WTC.  I let my family know I was safe
> by e-mail, as cell phone service was swamped and even landline phones
> were down that close to the disaster site.  As I walked north I saw
> people gathered around cars (all with radios) for news.  Radio is THE
> source for information in the affected area during an emergency.  Video
> provides information for onlookers who are more curious than they are in
> dire need of information.  Nice, but not essential, for the casual
> viewer.  (That's not to say DTV shouldn't play a part in emergency
> communication, it's just not the primary way most people get their
> information in times of emergency.)
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