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HD Radio Developer Proposes Upgrades to EAS

Outlines enhanced text notifications, multilingual audio and geographically-targeted messaging

The developer of HD Radio says its technology could further enhance the nation’s emergency alerting capabilities.

Xperi Corp. last week pitched using HD Radio for enhanced text notifications, multilingual audio and geographically-targeted messaging to representatives from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) in Washington, according to an ex parte filing by the company.

[Read: IBC2018: Xperi Shows Off Global Hybrid Radio Solution]

In a further development, the licensor of HD Radio has also released a white paper entitled, “Upgrading the Emergency Alert System: HD Radio Digital Emergency Alerting.” It further details possible alerting enhancements like wake-up signaling and delivery of visual images, including photos and maps.

Ashruf El-Dinary, vice president of radio technology solutions for Xperi, met PSHSB staff on March 13 and detailed the potential benefits of using the In-Band On-Channel/IBOC digital transmission system originally developed by iBiquity.

Xperi, which is based in San Jose, Calif., cited a recent report from the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council that recommended upgrading several aspects of the public alerting ecosystem, including: improving geographic targeting, enhancing public alerting systems with multimedia, improving resiliency and redundancy and improving accessibility of alert info.

“While each method of public alerting has particular strengths, HD Radio technology is uniquely positioned to enhance the overall system and fulfill many of the important recommendations made by CSRIC in its December 2018 Final Report,” Xperi wrote in the new document.

The digital data capabilities of HD Radio technology enable digital broadcasters to “enhance their
emergency messaging broadcasts by providing more rich and detailed content, including, for example,
alternate languages, message text, pictures, and map,” Xperi says.

And “notably, the HD Radio emergency alerting broadcast protocol is completely CAP [Common Alerting Protocol]-compliant, thus allowing dissemination of all the rich content facilitated by CAP,” according to the company.

The FCC already mandates that EAS participants be able to receive CAP-formatted alert messages. The Federal Emergency Management Administration is responsible for the EAS implementation and testing.

In addition, in the paper Xperi proposes a new concept in emergency alerting, one that uses its HD Radio technology to alert motorists of an approaching emergency service vehicle. The Emergency Vehicle Warning System would allow for emergency vehicles, equipped with an in-vehicle transmitter, to transmit a warning message on a fixed frequency to nearby cars.

The company’s comments were filed in a notice of ex parte comments in the matter of Amendments to Part 11 of the FCC’s Rules Regarding the Emergency Alert System, PS Docket No. 15‐94; and In the Matter of Improving Wireless Emergency Alerts and Community‐Initiated Alerting, PS Docket No. 15‐91.

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