FCC Proposes Real-Time Text NPRM
Tue, 03 May 2016 17:28:08 -0400
The Federal Communications Commission today approved a proposal to utilize real-time text to ensure that people with disabilities who rely on text to communicate have accessible and effective telephone access. As communications networks migrate to IP-based environments, this technology would allow Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech disabled or deaf-blind to use the same wireless communications devices as their friends, relatives and colleagues, and more seamlessly integrate into tomorrow’s communications networks.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today proposes to recognize real-time text as a replacement technology for text telephones, also known as TTY devices, on wireless phone networks, starting in December 2017 for larger carriers. It also begins to look into the possibility of a similar transition for IP-based landline phone networks.
Unlike most text messaging services, real-time text enables text to be sent immediately as it is typed, without pressing “send.” In this manner, the person receiving the text can read what the person creating the text is saying as soon as he or she creates it – thus fostering a conversational rhythm to the interaction, much as one person speaking can still hear the other person even if they talk over each other. By not requiring users to hit “send”, 911 call center personnel, for example, will be able to receive even incomplete messages.
Real-time text enables the full integration of people with disabilities into IP communications networks as they become widely available. It allows consumers using text communications to interact directly with consumers on voice phones, and vice versa. This technology can also generally function in off-the-shelf devices like common smartphones.
Since the 1970s, people with disabilities who rely on text have been using TTYs, an antiquated typewriter technology which is limited in speed (60 wpm), characters and capabilities. Because of its limitations, TTY usage is dramatically declining and TTY technology – built to operate on traditional circuit-switched phone networks – faces considerable challenges over IP networks.
In light of these difficulties, over the past year, the Commission has granted wireless carriers’ waiver requests of the Commission’s requirements to support TTY as they committed to developing and deploying real-time text services on their wireless IP networks. They and other stakeholders generally agree on the technical feasibility of RTT, as well as its superior reliability, efficiency, character sets, features and speed over TTY. Today’s NPRM responds to AT&T’s petition asking the FCC to initiate a rulemaking that would authorize the industry-wide substitution of real-time text for TTY technology to meet accessibility requirements on wireless networks.
In addition to starting a modernization process for accessibility on wireless networks and asking for input on how a similar transition might work on landline networks, today’s notice ensures that real-time text will be able to interface effectively with TTYs, which are still utilized by some consumers. The notice also proposes that wireless phones and other communications devices be able to support real-time text services. In addition, it proposes interoperability measures to effectively integrate real-time text services across communications systems.
Today’s action also proposes a list of essential functionalities to be supported following this transition. These include the ability to initiate and receive calls from voice phone numbers and to allow simultaneous text-to-voice and voice-to-text communications. The item also proposes that systems that use real-time text support full 911 emergency communications, function consistently with low error rates, be compatible with technologies like screen readers, and be generally compatible with features voice phone users expect like leaving messages and conference calling. Many of these features were recommended for inclusion in the NPRM by the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee, which includes both industry and consumer stakeholders.
For more information about the FCC’s Disability Rights Office, visit: https://www.fcc.gov/general/disability-rights-office.
NAB Opens 2016 Marconi Radio Awards Nomination Window
Mon, 02 May 2016 15:51:42 -0400
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) announced today that it will accept nominations for the 2016 NAB Marconi Radio Awards until May 31. The Marconi Radio Awards recognize overall excellence and performance in radio.
Stations and on-air personalities may nominate themselves in the categories of "Station of the Year by Market Size," "Station of the Year by Format," "Noncommercial Station of the Year," "Personality of the Year by Market Size," and "Legendary Station." Syndicators and affiliates may also submit nominations for the category of "Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year."
Nominations must be submitted online. Finalists will be announced in July.
On September 22, the winners will be announced during the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show at the Radio Show, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and NAB, held in Nashville (September 21-23).
Congress, Airlines Tighten Grip on Lithium Ion Battery Rules and Regulations
Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:39 -0400
On April 19 the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill by a margin of 95 to 3. The Senate demonstrated a unique ability to work together in a bipartisan way that should make air travel and cargo shipment safer and more efficient. However, the bill contains language that gives reason for pause as it will negatively impact the ability for sports production professionals to transfer lithium ion batteries. Section 2317 of the bill further authorizes the FAA to throw up additional obstacles to moving lithium ion batteries both by passenger and cargo aircraft.
Specifically, the bill codifies the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) February rules that prohibit the bulk air transportation of lithium ion batteries on passenger aircraft and prohibits the bulk shipment of batteries with an internal charge greater than 30%. The bill also explicitly points out FAA’s authority to regulate a passenger’s ability to bring lithium ion batteries into passenger cabins.
A quick read of these provisions may not raise many red flags until you consider the fact that ICAO’s new rules have already begun disrupting the supply chain. For example, an Australia based hearing aid company utilizing Swiss batteries has had to change its supplier and logistics around the new regulations – and stories like this continue to roll in.
ICAO’s provisions are currently set to expire in 2018 – but this bill proposes making them permanent and setting precedent for further battery regulations.
As the bill moves to the House for approval, it is unclear how its representatives will respond to the Senate’s version. Representative Bill Shuster and other members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee see privatizing air traffic control as a legacy issue – and it is not included in the Senate bill. Assuming the House and Senate reach a deal, there is less information regarding how the White House will respond.
While the House and Senate go back and forth, airlines are also changing their policies on shipping lithium ion batteries. Lufthansa Cargo has tightened its restrictions on dangerous goods shipments covered under ICAO’s UN3480 and UN3090.
The airline’s new rules do not prevent batteries packed in or with equipment, as a camera or related audio equipment would be, but this airline and others are committed to looking further into the issue.
As you can tell, there are several moving pieces at work here and regulations are being written in real time. Now is the time to let your voice be heard in Washington so that regulations do not arise that harm your business.
For more information and to get involved, please contact Logistics Supply Chain Coalition Executive Director James Voyles at email@example.com.
Grass Valley LDX Series Cameras Have Direct IP Interface
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:05:05 -0400
Broadcasters increasingly use IP networks with large bandwidth, and Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, offers cameras that make it easier to produce live programming efficiently across those networks. The LDX Series cameras have a direct IP interface on the camera itself, enabling live IP productions. The interface is available for XF-Transmission on the LDX Series and LDX 86 Series cameras through an eLicense software upgrade.
The IP interface on the camera enables broadcasters to connect LDX Series cameras directly to commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) switches on an IP network, transporting the full camera protocol through an IP network to the XCU base stations connected to another COTS switch on the same network. The system enables control of all cameras on the network through a centralized control room. Facilitating complete transmission protocol between the cameras and XCUs over IP networks enables broadcasters to capture events anywhere with no OB van required, reducing staff costs and opening up the possibility of managing multiple production locations from a central studio.
“We are seeing increasing interest in direct-IP broadcasting, and the adoption of fast, reliable IP networks is making that much more practical,” says Mike Cronk, SVP, strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “Our approach of offering a direct IP interface is ideal for the most demanding remote camera applications, including large studio complexes or universities with multiple sports facilities. And a big advantage is that, with IP, there is no latency to cause problems.”
With LDX Series cameras connected through the XCU Universe XF or to a 10 GigE IP network, the cameras can be mixed and matched to any XCU, which creates maximum flexibility between cameras, XCUs, and a complete production team. NEP The Netherlands, the first customer to take advantage of this capability, launched its Cloud Production comprehensive IP-based video-production platform in October and has already produced hundreds of live multicamera programs. With the centralized approach of Cloud Production, only the essential equipment — cameras, microphones, crew members — are needed on location. The rest is in its centralized data center.
“Users of the LDX series are leveraging the robust IP network infrastructure as well as affordable COTS switches,” says Cronk. “Only cameras are needed, so it’s easy for a broadcaster to begin direct-IP production on a small scale.”
NeuLion, Nielsen Partner to Bring Next-Gen Audience Measurement to OTT Video Services
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:16:56 -0400
NeuLion has announced that its Digital Platform and Encoder have been certified to enable Nielsen measurement on Nielsen’s Digital in TV Ratings product, enabling NeuLion content partners to add digital audiences to their National and Local TV ratings. Nielsen is the recognized leader in audience measurement, covering over 90% of the world’s population.
The NeuLion Digital Platform is an end-to-end platform providing licensed components from content ingestion, encoding and management to security, monetization, monitoring, and analytics. The robust platform streamlines over-the-top (OTT) video delivery for rights holders including Univision, Participant Media, the NFL, NBA, UFC, and is among the first video streaming platform providers to integrate Nielsen’s Digital in TV Ratings measurement.
The new capability will be highly valued by NeuLion customers seeking to measure audiences accurately across various Internet-enabled devices, including desktops, iOS, and Android mobile devices. Next up will be working with Nielsen to implement measurement on game consoles, streaming set-top boxes and even smart TVs in the living room. Thanks to the new measurement capabilities, content owners will be able to more easily sell ads across platforms based on consistent third-party measurement, and more effectively monetize their revenue across broadcast and digital platforms.
“Audiences in today’s always on, multi-device, on-demand world consume content very differently than they ever have before, and it is critical that our partners are able to effectively measure and track viewership and consumption on new platforms. By working with Nielsen we are able to bring industry-best measurement tools to our partners, helping them understand viewer engagement and better monetize their offerings,” says NeuLion CEO Dr. Kanaan Jemili.
“Providing deep audience insights to customers is a priority. Our team worked closely with Nielsen to gain Nielsen Digital Certification for the NeuLion Digital Platform, and we look forward to enabling the feature in all the streaming services we power in the near future,” adds NeuLion CTO Michael Her.
A recent Nielsen report showed an annual decline in both live TV viewing and the number of pay-TV households. At the same time, headlines about cord cutting households abound, while broadband only households increased by almost 30 in the last year, making it more crucial than ever before for content owners to have a keen understanding of their OTT audience metrics.