What is ATSC 3.0?
ATSC 3.0, or Next Generation Digital, brings together television broadcast and broadband to create an enhanced viewing experience for general TV watching and lifesaving advanced emergency advisory capabilities. Next Generation Digital enables delivery of geo-targeted news and emergency information to an array of mobile and fixed devices, which means faster alerts when there is potential danger from impending tornados, flooding, and the like. It also means more expansive reach.
More people in more places will have greater access to voice, data, and video thanks to Next Generation Digital. It will make television programming, video on demand, and wireless data services available wherever broadcast transmitters reach without users having to pay for data download charges. In the case of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, that translates into the vast majority of Indiana. Today, IPBS reaches 95% of Indiana, more than any single commercial network in the state. IPBS plays a vital role in the growth, safety, and support of communities across Indiana and seeks to leverage its infrastructure to reach even more locations.
Datacasting Delivers on Public Safety
One of the most compelling features of ATSC 3.0 is its datacasting capability. Datacasting saves lives by delivering real time situational information (live video, audio, photographs, floorplans, topographical maps, etc.) to first responders. The technology was recently tested successfully by IPBS under the supervision of the US Department of Homeland Security during a first-of-its-kind school shooting simulation in Adams County, Indiana. The technology works in concert with Indiana’s FirstNet plan, and can also be used during severe weather, in the aftermath of natural disasters, and to monitor public events that draw large crowds.
In the simulation, datacasting enabled first responders to see an active shooter and assess the situation as they were mobilizing by using existing school cameras. It also enabled a hospital emergency room to view victims in real time through first responder bodycams and prepare for their arrival.
The advantage of transmitting these signals through public broadcasting spectrum is that the infrastructure is already in place through the network of IPBS stations in the state. The spectrum can be made secure and is robust enough to send voice, data, and video to first responders. Furthermore, unlike cellular technology which is the prevailing form of communication today for law enforcement, it never gets overloaded. Datacasting is currently used effectively on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. during large events and in states such as Florida and Texas when hurricanes come on land.
To learn more about ATSC 3.0 and datacasting, open the following links: