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Communications Inc. Public Emergency Alerts Over Cellular Phones …The Challenges. Gyles Panther 6 November 2003. Basic Alerts, Requirements. Primary Notification (Alert) Instruction / Direction Calm and Inform Interactive Management Situation Analysis. Basic Alerts, Suitability.

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Communications Inc

Public Emergency Alerts Over Cellular Phones

…The Challenges

Gyles Panther

6 November 2003

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Basic Alerts, Requirements

Primary Notification (Alert)

Instruction / Direction

Calm and Inform

Interactive Management

Situation Analysis

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Basic Alerts, Suitability

Primary Notification (Alert) 

Instruction / Direction 

Calm and Inform 

People Management 

Situation Analysis 

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The Issues

  • What constitutes Wireless

  • Addressing Geographical Regions

  • Network Issues (Carrier)

  • Alerting Issues (Alertee)

  • HandSet Issues (Phone)

  • Implementation

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Wireless Networks

  • Cellular- GSM / TDMA / CDMA / IDEN

  • Paging- One Way (POCSAG / FLEX)- Two Way (REFLEX / Data Networks)

  • Data Networks- Mobitex / Ardis

  • New cellular data capabilites- GPRS, 1xRTT

  • Chosen Focus is Cellular

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Normal (Voice) communications

  • Network : locates handset by registration

  • Control channel sets up comms

  • Single phone Address i.e. One to One

  • Cannot address One to Many

  • No intrinsic mapping of cells to location

  • Cells variable in size

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Alert Transmissions

  • Address ALL, i.e. Broadcast

  • Registration irrelevant

  • Geographical Address

  • Alert Message Transmitted Digitally

  • Message Content :- Displayed Text ( Language? ) - Spoken ( Language?) - Displayed ( Video +Speech, language? )

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Data Over Wireless

  • GSM

    GPRS…Packet data service 170kb/s raw; 40kb/s Usable ? EDGE…Enhanced GSM packet data 384kb/s raw; 60kb/s Usable?UMTS…3G Packet data service: 2Mb/s raw; 144kb/s Usable?

  • CDMA1xRTT…Basic CDMA packet: 144kb/s raw; 60kb/s Usable?3xRTT…Enhanced CDMA packet, 2Mb/s raw; 144kb/s Usable?

  • IDEN(?)

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Existing Message Service

  • e.g. SMS- Implemented by all carriers- Interoperable between carriers- Text Messages- Approximately 160 Character limitation

  • EMS, MMS- Large data files- spooled voice- photographic Picture quality (needs display!)

  • but….

    • All are Point to Point

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GSM- Cell Broadcast

  • Cell Specific BroadcastsPoint to MultipointShort messages, limited to 15 * 93 Characters (SMS-CB)Up to 64k CB “Channels”

  • Optional ETSI Standard (1993)Software upgrade to GSM networkNot widely implementedLimited / no commercial payback.

  • “Cell Broadcast Forum”Standardized handset requirementsUser Opt IN-OUT service selectionSMS-CB can trigger data “pull” ( via WAP )

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Geographic Addressability

  • Return path for 2-Way devices inherentlyrequires network location

  • Cellular handsets continuously located through“registration” process

  • Supposition of network geography on networklocation

  • Geographic resolution depends on cell size,likely poor

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Cell Broadcast – Limitations

  • Cell Resolution is variable,

    • Network to network,

    • Place to Place

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Selective Area Reception

  • Assuming………- A broadcast capability, regional or wide area- A population of network assisted GPS handsets…

  • A Broadcast alert message with…. - “Network assist” GPS data- “Geographic Address” (targeted area)- Emergency alert Message- Enunciation control data- Plus control fields…

  • Phones located in Geographic address respond…

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Handset Function

  • Special Alert- Display Standardized Message- Streaming Audio File

  • Probably amenable to commerce

  • Cellular networks now data “pipes”

  • Alert / Handset function- Through Network definitions (eg CAB) ?- Through Handset Software ?

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Limitations and Liabilities

  • Some Handsets will miss alerts:- Poor local coverage- Handset in use

  • Handset use while driving banned some places

  • Warned user might consult display while driving- Injury may result- Who owns legal liability?

  • Much preferred to send voiced message- text to voice, or- Streaming audio file

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A CAS System

  • A CAS Server application- Highly reliable, Redundant architecture- Authentication on Clients, direct users

  • Message Gateway to each carrier

  • Client population- Generator sites (Police, EMO, Environmental Agencies)- GUI / GIS capability- Overlay of Sensitive Sites- Authentication of Users (generators)

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  • Cell Broadcast Alerts- Now available GSM, Coming for CDMA- less than Ideal system could be built- Limited system, Patented

  • Selective Area Reception- New Message Types- Handset software required- Better System, no patents

  • Funding- Commercial Applications ?- Subsidies ?

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  • Neither Do-able on Present Networks

  • CAB requires:- CAB Network Implementation (Expensive?)- Public take-up of CAB capable phones- Network development (Geo overlay on Network Topology)

  • SAR requires:- Extensive lobbying of specifying entities- New system message types (broadcast)- New generation of handsets/handset software

  • Implementation must be International

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  • Government -Industry group to define

    - Method of selective area access

    - Broadcast Message spec

    • CSAAC network requirements

  • CAS system Design- Server system and Application S/W- Client Application Software

  • CAS administrative functions- System management, Training, public awareness,

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Challenges (1)

  • 5 year horizon may require mandate

  • Formation of common intent

  • Complex service behaviour

    • Through Handset Software?

    • Through Network Standards?

  • Agree on CAS method

    • Cell location

    • Selective Area Reception (GPS)

  • Commercial Applications

    • Traffic, Geo-referenced Advertising

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Thank You

Communications Inc

Gyles Panther

Wi-Sys Communications Inc.

308 Legget Drive,

Ottawa, Ontario

K2K 1Y6