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Stormcasting

February 18,2014

From snow storms in the Middle East to hurricanes in New York, it has become essential to have a mobile, easy to deploy solution ready at a moment’s notice.

Five years ago, you couldn't go live from a moving car for weather and traffic reports. Now, thanks to cellular bonding, almost every station in areas with tough weather conditions is doing it.  During the recent descent of the Polar Vortex into the US, many news crews hit the slippery streets with their cellular field units to report on dangerous road conditions and changing weather patterns. Crews that forewent the traditional satellite truck routine didn’t have to worry about harsh conditions interfering with their signal and were able to capture the developing weather events in real time while on the move. As the Southern parts of the US got hit with unusual amounts of snow, causing havoc in highways and local infrastructure, many local stations have deployed an array of LiveU crews, many using transmission backpacks, while who didn’t have a backpack were using their phones with LiveU’s streaming app. The extensive coverage even caught the attention of the Daily Show in their skit about WSB Atlanta’s 25-reporter split screen.

 

WSB Atlanta News Director Mike Dreaden later told TVNewsCheck “I was proud of it because it showed the scope of our coverage.” 

This type of mobility allows broadcasters to deploy weather crews quickly and efficiently when extreme weather strikes. After almost 20 inches (50cm) of snow fell in the Middle East, many cities were left completely paralyzed. Most news crews weren’t able to pull their satellite vans out of the station parking lot, let alone launch a full scale broadcast. Those who could, deployed their cellular field units and were able to get not only get a live feed running but could move around more easily in the snow. These stations were then able to broadcast regular updates to those waiting anxiously for more information.  When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, crews with cellular field units were able to venture into many areas where satellite trucks had no access. Crews could broadcast live from the shoreline or travel on foot into flooded areas where vehicles couldn’t drive.

Mobile Weather LabSome stations, such as CBS13, Sacramento, have taken the freedom of mobility even further by building mobile weather stations. The CBS13 Mobile Weather Lab is equipped with and LU700 cellular rack-mount encoder, a LiveU Xtender external antenna, various meteorology equipment. The back opens up to a 60 inch (152cm), weather proof monitor so that the station is able to broadcast live weather reports from the field, giving viewers a new kind of real-time experience.

By employing cellular uplink solutions, meteorologists and newscasters are able to quickly deploy highly mobile teams to report on weather where it strikes. This gives viewers as much information as possible about developing situations in their area, in a scope, breadth, and detail never before possible. 

 

Ken Zamkow
Head of Marketing - US & The Americas

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