Monday, May 2, 2011

ISDB-T in the midst of disaster

After the devastating earthquake in Japan last March 11, 2011, we heard stories of sadness, despair and of grief but above all these are also stories of survival and of triumph against whatever trials the country was faced with. For Japan, the disaster definitely brought out the best from its people. Indeed, their admirable discipline, patience and the sense of brotherhood prevailed.

One such story, as reported from Yomiuri Shimbun, was how two new police officers were able to save 40 lives from a train. Right after the earthquake, a tsunami warning was immediately sent off. Amazing how information was immediately disseminated even though all TV and mobile networks were disabled at that time. The warning actually came through a mobile phone with TV on one of the passengers in the train and this was made possible through ISDB-T. The result: the two police officers quickly led the passengers to the hill and all passengers including the two police officers were safely evacuated from the tsunami area before the tsunami struck the train. Imagine, if it weren’t for that tsunami warning being sent off through a mobile TV, 42 lives could’ve been lost.

Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help but look back as I still vividly remember how Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan in the Philippines passionately discussed to me ISDB-T and how this technology places maximum protection on human lives.

Let me refresh your memory. A few months back, I wrote an article about our country making the big switch from analog to digital TV broadcast and why ISDB-T was the perfect choice for such switch. Integrated Services Digital Broadcast - Terrestrial (ISDB-T) is the most advanced international standard on digital terrestrial television broadcasting. Aside from a better reception and wider coverage area, ISDB-T has band segmentation and in one channel bandwidth it can utilize and accommodate a combination of HDTV/SDTV/Mobile TV. One transmitter is enough; hence, it is very economical. But above all, allow me to reiterate to you the importance of this technology when it comes to providing protection to human lives specially in uncontrollable situations like typhoons and natural disasters particularly on earthquakes and tsunamis(as well exemplified to what happened in Japan).

ISDB-T has emergency warning broadcasting system. This technology prioritizes human lives. In an unmerciful conditions like earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis people will get emergency warnings and if in cases where there will be traffic congestion in mobile networks or if any means of communication services were disabled, ISDB-T’s mobile TV can and will be able to transmit emergency warnings and evacuation instructions. It can endure and tolerate damages caused by the disaster assuring us of continued service.

In emergency cases such as these, normally when the Japan Meteorological Agency gets information of an inevitable disaster such as a tsunami, a warning will be sent off to the different broadcasting networks and this will then be transmitted to the different mediums like televisions and radios. Television sets or radios that are turned off will be automatically be switched on to give the alert. In the case of Japan where most houses were destroyed because of the strong earthquake, no television sets or radios were functioning due to power failure. Information was sent through the mobile TV. It actually does make sense. Mobile phones can easily be carried and we practically have it anywhere we go; so in situations like these, it may just be the only thing you can easily grab and get hold of.

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