Emergency Management Center Applications

Emergency Management Centers require a media-rich mix of resources from a variety of sources – cable and satellite programming, local  HDTV news, cameras, and other sources.

As major centers such as the Los Angeles Emergency Operation Center were designed, several media distribution and routing systems were envisioned. Twisted-pair Cat 5 video routing was rejected for high cost and inability to adapt to change in sources and destinations. IPTV was evaluated, but cost was high; unpredictable  latency and high maintenance costs were issues as well.

As with many other centers, HDTV RF was chosen for distribution – for a number of reasons. First, digital modulators were used to convert encrypted channels from cable and satellite receivers to open-access QAM cable channels – channels that can be tuned by any standard TV or tuner. By broadcasting just the channels they needed, the site saved thousands in subscription and receiver rental costs.

Next, ATSC to QAM converters were used to distribute free HD channels from local off-air broadcasters as digital cable channels – saving cable costs as well. Other digital modulators were used to integrate video from Internet-based sources, maps, PC apps, helicopter, security, traffic and other camera feeds, and radio stations.

Because the media is delivered over US-standard HDTV, EOC sites can select and view content using off-the-shelf HD TV sets. The 232-ATSC+HDTV Tuners are often employed as well, as they have many video and audio options and can be controlled over RS-232 or IR. The tuner can also integrate a low-cost RF box that can switch between two RF coax feeds – one in digital cable channels and the other with off-air channels from an antenna.

Pictured Above: Emergency Management Department’s Main Coordination Room, Operations Coordination POD
Photo Credit: Photo by Sasha Bilar, courtesy Spectrum ITC Group