EAS-CAP in a Multiscreen World

BTR_Feature_Art_EasCap_2_12_13 The June 2012 deadline for implementing an Emergency Alert System (EAS) that complies with new Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) guidelines has come and gone. Among the ongoing issues for operators and EAS-CAP vendors is maintaining the capability to put the emergency messages on next-gen services and networks.

"Cable is in a transition period," said Adam Jones, senior applications engineer and sales engineer for Trilithic. "The biggest challenge for us is to effectively fit EAS in with whatever they go to next."

One such area has been delivery to multiple screens. While the rules regarding emergency management and transmission of those messages to mobile devices are vague, operators want to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to compliance with the regulations, Jones said.

Going one step further, operators have recognized that providing this type of emergency messaging has proven to be a strong suit, and by getting ahead of regulations, they will continue to be seen as offering an important service to consumers. "The hazy view of (future) regulations may give (operators) pause, but if you don't start working on it, you become less impressive to potential customers," said Bill Robertson, VP of business development for Monroe Electronics. "OTT and multiscreen viewing is not going to be fading away."

In addition, taking the initiative may in the end prevent the need for FCC involvement. "(Operators) are advancing it such that hopefully regulations don't have to come on top of it if they get ahead and the FCC sees that the industry as a whole has already managed it well," Robertson said.

The cable operators know when a consumer's device is in their footprint and attached to their network, so it becomes a matter of receiving an alert for a particular area then being able to turn around and push it out to those devices. Whereas in a linear environment, the EAS-CAP decoder would trigger downstream messages, in the multiscreen world, the information must be provided in a manner where it can also be sent back upstream for delivery to smartphones, tablets, etc. that are on the IP side of an operator's network, Robertson said.

Specifically, the messages can be sent to the operator's middleware system, where they can be put in the appropriate format and pushed out to the various devices, Jones said. The other option is to insert the message in the video stream. However, this method can be used for targeted content as opposed to that which is broadcast throughout the entire footprint. Otherwise, a tornado warning for Washington, D.C. would be sent to subscribers in St. Louis, for example.

Operators can determine how they would like the messaging to appear on the mobile devices. One such way could be a popup, similar to what mobile providers are offering their cellular subscribers, Robertson said. In the cable world, if someone is watching content or surfing the Internet, the alert could pop up briefly, giving the user warning and providing a link for more information.

From the EAS-CAP vendor perspective, these capabilities are provided via a software license, Robertson said. On the operator side, each has to take its architecture into consideration and figure out what it takes to "move the ball from point A to point B" in order to push the message to the user devices.

While each operator is different, Jones provided an example of one "major" MSO that deployed Trilithic's IP-based product. "It took them less than an hour to figure out how to parse the message and forward it on through the middleware. Implementation was beyond fast. It was easy for them to implement and begin testing before lunch."

Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at mcmhern@yahoo.com.

Get the Broadband Technology Report Newsletters Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • Video Technology
  • Network Technology
  • Technology Alerts
  • BTR LATAM (Latin America)

SCTE-Cable Tec Expo 2016 Video Show Dailies

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

In our Video Show Daily for Day 3 of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy covers trends in distrib...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

In our Video Show Daily for the second day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy highlights furt...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy reviews the hot technologies and announcements from the first day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016 in P...

Diamond Technology Reviews - 2016 High Scores

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

BTR's Diamond Technology Reviews, now in its twelfth year, is a technology recognition program wherein vendors serving the broadband cable ...

Related Articles


VITEC to Show Compression, Streaming Gear

October 20, 2016

VITEC will exhibit a lineup of encoders, decoders, and IPTV streaming so...

Digital Nirvana

Digital Nirvana Upgrades Monitoring Platform

October 20, 2016

At the NAB Show New York in November, Digital Nirvana will highlight the...


2016 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Wrap Up

Whether you couldn't make it to Cable-Tec this year or want to see if you missed anything while you were there, you'll want to join BTR editors Stephen Hardy and Ron Hendrickson as they reveal their picks for the...

October 12, 2016
Sponsored by

Counting the cost: Efficiently transitioning from HFC to FTTH

HFC networks are uniquely positioned to provide compelling and competitive services, and are also uniquely positioned to transition to symmetrical FTTH as commercial requirements demand.  This webinar will d...

Date:September 22, 2016
Sponsored by

Maintaining High Quality of Experience in an Adaptive Bitrate System

This webinar will look at the many points in an ABR system where the video is touched.  From ingest (satellite, file, and IP), to egress, each point should be qualified for compliance to help maintain a high...

Date:August 25, 2016
Sponsored by

White Papers & Special Reports

Cable VoIP 2.0: Voice Moves to the Cloud

October 2016

Cable providers led the charge on the VoIP evolution and won customers and market share. Now voice networks are evolving again. The cloud voice platform has ...

Understanding Ultra High Definition Television

October 2016

Over the last 10 years, high definition television (HDTV) has been replacing standard definition television as the expected viewing format for television pro...

Are You Ready for DOCSIS 3.1? The Future of Cable Technology and How to Prepare Your Network

October 2016

DOCSIS 3.1 promises 10x capacity throughput and a range of technical benefits for cable providers and users alike. Are you ready? Discover the technical adva...

BTR Blogs

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

FCC Rethinks Set-Top Plan

September 10, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - The FCC has reworked the "unlock the set-top b...


In Memoriam: Richard Covell

August 18, 2016

By Rob Stuehrk, Publisher - We at Broadband Technology Report were sadde...

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

Court Overturns FCC Municipal Broadband Order

August 11, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - You win some, and you lose some, and the FCC just l...

Featured Hangouts

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this inf...

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

Watch a 30-minute video chat of experts from a variety of related disciplines discuss how close deployments really ar...

Featured Hangout

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this informative Hangout on demand by clicking the link above.

Sponsored by Verimatrix.