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Towards a better Public Warning System (ePWS)

April 11, 2018

By Hyounhee Koo (SyncTechno), ePWS rapporteur

Additional requirements for an enhanced Public Warning System (ePWS) have been agreed at the recent 3GPP TSG SA#79 meeting, as an update to Technical Specification (TS) 22.268.

3GPP Public Warning Systems were first specified in Release 8, allowing for direct warnings to be sent to mobile users on conventional User Equipment (PWS-UE), capable of displaying a text-based and language-dependent Warning Notification.

Since that time, there has been a growth in the number of mobile devices with little or no user interface - including wrist bands, sensors and cameras – many of which are not able to display Warning Notifications. The recent growth in the number of IoT devices - not used by human users – also highlights the need for an alternative to text based Warning Notifications. If those devices can be made aware of the type of incident (e.g. a fire or flood) in some other way than with a text message, then they may take preventive actions (e.g. lift go to ground floor automatically).

watch23GPP SA1 delegates also considered how graphical symbols or images can now be used to better disseminate Warning Notifications, specifically aimed at the following categories of users:

  • Users with disabilities who have UEs supporting assistive technologies beyond text assistive technologies; and
  • Users who are not fluent in the language of the Warning Notifications.

Much of the work on enhancing the Public Warning System is set out in the ePWS requirements specification: TS 22.268 (SA1). You should also keep an eye on the 3GPP protocol specifications (CT1, Stage 3 work) in Release 16, covering:

  • Specifying Message Identifiers for ePWS-UE, especially IoT devices that are intended for machine type communications
  • Enabling language-independent content to be included in Warning Notifications

The work on ePWS in TS 22.268 (Release 16) is expected to help manufacturers of User Equipment meet any future regulatory requirements dedicated to such products.

Further reading:

Title / topic

 Specification

Study on enhancements of Public Warning System 22.869
Stage 1 for Public Warning System 22.268 (Requirements)
CT1 aspects of Stage 3 for Public Warning System  23.041 (Technical realization of Cell Broadcast Service (CBS))
CT4 aspects of Stage 3 for Public Warning System 29.168 (Cell Broadcast Centre interfaces with the Evolved Packet Core; Stage 3)
Contact for this article: Kevin FLYNN, Marketing and Communications Officer, 3GPP
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