Messaging Protocol Released for Public Comment
month an important document was released for public comment which
is destined to play a key role in the development of the next-generation
Emergency Alert System (EAS). This document, and the need for
it in the first place, arise from development of the Federal Emergency
Management Agencys (FEMAs) Integrated Public Alert
Warning System (IPAWS) which is ...the nation's next-generation
infrastructure of alert and warning networks that will expand
upon the traditional audio-only radio and television EAS by providing
one message over more media to more people before, during, and
after a disaster.
document just released is entitled the Common Alerting Protocol
Version 1.1 - USA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Profile
Version 1.0 but is typically referred to as the CAP
v1.1 IPAWS Profile. Briefly, the protocol described in this
document defines the standard ways in which emergency alert information
is to be exchanged under IPAWS between the government and emergency
alert providers such as radio and TV broadcasters.
is expected to form the basis for a new generation of EAS broadcast
equipment. The FCC, in its Second Report and Order adopted in
July 2007 on what is commonly called next generation EAS,
established the requirement that EAS participants (e.g., broadcasters)
must accept messages using a common messaging protocol based on
the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v1.1 standard, no later than
180 days after FEMA publicly publishes its adoption of such a
standard. A copy of the Second Report and Order is on the FCCs
web page at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-109A1.pdf.
for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS),
a not-for-profit consortium that ...drives the development,
convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information
society, was charged with developing this document by FEMA.
Within OASIS, this work was done by the Emergency Management Technical
Committee (TC), also responsible for standardization of the original
version of CAP upon which the current document is based. The March
3, 2009 release for comment by OASIS of the CAP v1.1 IPAWS Profile
is part of the OASIS standards adoption process; once this process
is completed, it is expected that FEMA will at that time identify
this document as the standard which will initiate the 180 day
adoption period for broadcasters established by the FCC.
to the introduction, this Profile was developed primarily by integrating
requirements related to three federal warning-delivery systems:
- the broadcast
EAS as recommended by the EAS-CAP Industry Working Group;
- the NOAA
Non-Weather Emergency Message (NWEM) "HazCollect"
program for weather radio and other delivery systems as derived
from technical documentation; and,
- the Commercial
Mobile Alert System (CMAS) for cellular telephones as described
in the recommendations of the Commercial Mobile Service Alert
Advisory Committee (CMSAAC).
There is considerable
debate among broadcasters and others in the emergency alerting
community about exactly how this new standard, and new equipment
which conforms to it, will actually be deployed. Some broadcasters
have expressed concern that the 180 day timeline established by
the FCC for deployment of CAP-based EAS will be difficult or impossible
to achieve, in part because the governments equipment approval
process has yet to be defined, and it is unclear when the equipment
necessary to meet the timeline requirement will be available.
resources for those interested in learning more about EAS and
the IPAWS program are available on the Internet:
- SBE: the Society of Broadcast Engineers has a very
complete and detailed analysis of the current state of the evolution
of EAS on their web page at www.sbe.org/gov_eas.php.
Of particular interest is a white paper entitled The EAS
CAP Roadmap - A Strategy for Implementing the Common Alerting
Protocol for a Next Generation Emergency Alert System,
an effort of the EAS CAP Roadmap Coordinating Committee (at
announcement from OASIS on the release of the CAP v1.1 IPAWS Profile
is available on the OASIS web page at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200903/msg00001.html.
Comments must be submitted to OASIS by May 2, 2009. Instruction
on submitting comments may be obtained by selecting the Send
A Comment button at the top of the OASIS Emergency Management
TCs web page at www.oasis-open.org/committees/emergency/.
March 16, 2009 TV TechCheck is also available
in an Adobe Acrobat file.
here to read the Adobe Acrobat version of TV TechCheck.