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EAS Manufacturers, Service Providers Develop CAP ‘Profile’

They hope to help improve interoperability as emergency alerting is revamped.

A group of equipment, software and service providers to the Emergency Alert System believe they’ve developed the “secret sauce” for the next generation of broadcast EAS.

The coalition, calling itself the EAS-CAP Industry Group, has released a draft “profile” for the use and translation of the open, non-proprietary Common Alerting Protocol for digital EAS. CAP is a format for exchanging emergency alerts and public warnings over various networks.

Members say the profile will help improve interoperability across the various entities that are involved in alerting: agencies, jurisdictions, systems and vendors. The idea is to better communicate weather, civil, AMBER and other alerts via stations.

Group members supporting the profile include Digital Alert Systems, Hormann America, iBiquity Digital, Monroe Electronics, MyStateUSA, Sage Alerting Systems, SpectraRep, TFT, Trilithic and Warning Systems Inc.

The Federal Communications Commission wants U.S. EAS participants to adopt the ability to receive messages using CAP within 180 days after the Federal Emergency Management Agency adopts CAP as the EAS standard, which is expected in the first quarter of 2009.

The group said it will provide its profile to governmental agencies and industry associations as a recommendation on the use of CAP for EAS purposes, including the FCC, FEMA, National Weather Service and other organizations. The group’s members also intend to implement the profile rapidly within their own systems and equipment.

The EAS-CAP profile provides guidelines to developers and manufacturers as to which elements in a CAP message are required for an EAS message, identifies how a mandatory alert from a state/territorial governor would be identified, describes authentication and security features, recommends accepted formats for audio messages and other features.

The group’s work is at its Web site, and the group will offer a mechanism for public comment on that site.

SpectraRep applauded the announcement. “By incorporating this profile into our AlertManager emergency notification system we will provide government users and broadcasters with more efficient, easier-to-use products that will help minimize risk and ultimately reduce costs,” stated SVP Edward Czarnecki.