Q. What kind of products or services does your company offer for radio broadcasters?
A. GSS developed a single-point to multipoint messaging system to provide redundant distribution of emergency alert messages in the event that responders’ radios and cell phones and Internet sites become clogged with traffic or ineffective due to heavy network use. The company uses a standard commercial FM receiver chip that can be inserted into smoke detectors and mobile devices such as pagers, cell phones and PDAs to alert first-responders and citizens and provide vital real-time information as an emergency situation develops. With this important national service, the radio broadcaster can continue to stay relevant and serve as a valuable communications resource. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for example, the GSSNet system could have been used to send alerts to individuals in a specific geography and provide them with direction on where to receive ice, food, water or medical attention.
Q. What’s new that you will show at NAB2007 and that radio broadcasters should look for there?
A. Radio broadcasters should look for our GSS First Alert System, which now allows participating broadcasters to deliver a range of content to mobile devices using the FM signal as part of the GSS private network and mobile advertising plan. We have sent out a personal invitation to your GM and owners to participate in meeting the FEMA requirements for interoperable communications. The system sends out the station call letters and music title information so listeners know what they’re listening to and on what station. In addition to information about audio content, the broadcaster can deliver 24/7 weather and sports information on a subscription basis. This GSS technology also can be used by radio advertisers looking to deliver location-based content. As the system is further expanded, consumers will have the option of clicking through ads that link to direct purchase sites, Web sites and other content that can be delivered to cell phones, iPods and PDAs equipped with FM chips.
Q. How is your new product offering different from what’s available on the market?
A. GSS recognizes that strong and proactive relationships with the nation’s FM and TV broadcasters are essential for the success for GSSNet in its efforts to build a nationwide coverage network. (Yes, we also have a TV-distribution model built on off-the-shelf equipment.) These broadcasters recognize this is a new opportunity to monetize their FM signal. Because emergencies are local in nature, radio and TV broadcasters are fully engaged to support this effort and to ensure their resources remain relevant to federal, state and local emergency teams and listeners.
Q. How does the GSS system improve what’s already available in early warning and notification?
A. The system is fully addressable and, along with the FM broadcast network, is inherently redundant due to the large concentration of overlapping stations in each particular geography. This “addressability” allows the system to provide targeted and personalized alert and recovery information. Maintenance and equipment investments to the FM network benefit both commercial and alert signals simultaneously. Furthermore, the propagation characteristics of the FM signal provide excellent reception inside buildings when compared to other communications systems such as cellular or satellite systems.
Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
A. GSS is based in Jackson, Miss., with offices in Fla., La., Ala. and Washington, D.C. We have a research and development office in Central Europe, and we currently have 55 employees.