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Media Technologies in the Time of Disaster: Requirements, Issues, and Web Standards



  • Kinji Matsumura, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Kunio Numabe, Fuji Television
  • Yosuke Funahashi, Tomo-Digi Coporation


  • The authors presume that the combination of Broadcasting and the Web has the potential to contribute greatly to the development of a society more resilient to large-scale (natural) disasters, based on experience gained during and after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
  • Motivated by the above, a panel discussion on disaster information and the media, entitled Symposium on Web and TV 2012, was held at Fuji Television, Daiba, Tokyo on June 12. The panel included representatives from the broadcasting industry (NHK and Radio Ishinomaki), the telecommunication industry (NTT), the Web industry (Google), and industry standardization (Tomo-Digi).
  • In the session, we reaffirmed that the Great East Japan Earthquake created a critical situation. All stakeholders reported their activities at the time of the disaster, and discussed challenges provided by this experience. They also gave advice on measures to counter future disasters from their respective points of view.
  • As this session did not come to a broad conclusion, we expect the discussion to be developed further with a wider range of concerned participants involved covering of broader range of issues.
  • The authors encourage forums such as W3C Web and Broadcasting BG to develop this discussion further.
  • We attach a summary of the Symposium on Web and TV 2012 session below as a starting point for discussion.

Appendix: Summary of the Symposium and the BG's f2f meeting

As mentioned in the Statement above, the participants of the Symposium did not come to a consensus on which existing and new standards are most effective in the time of disaster. All points raised by the participants in the discussion have been compiled below and can be used as a starting point for further discussion.

Facts and requirements from the Symposium

  • General issues
    • How should we combine the roles of TV and telecommunication as universal services and role which web will play to achieve better safety and security.
    • Closed internet and closed broadcasting can not help.
    • The importance of education on disaster prevention.
  • Infrastructure
    • Power outage. Fall into a situation without electricity suddenly.
    • Telecommunication base stations and optical fibre cables were a devastating state on 3.11. We committed for recovery.
    • Launch information and communication base station as soon as possible for the community.
  • Habits/Culture
    • Familiarity of radio was a base of link with citizens.
  • Alternative devices and media
    • Including streaming on internet, we tried to deliver broadcast contents by any meas on 3.11
    • Broadcasting contents on digital signage were helpful.
  • Bandwidth
    • Streaming on internet at disaster will be a risk of network band pressure.
    • Possibility of causing peak excess on network by broadcasting same information.
    • How to suppress the traffic peak on internet.
  • Gathering information
    • Issues on gathering and generating information in the disaster area.
    • Ways to use gathered information. Digitize. Search.
    • Wiki-like collaboration on Web.

The BG extracted technical issues from the facts and requirements. And we discussed the possible relevant groups in W3C that elaborate the issue based on our deliverables.

Relationship with W3C activities

  • Issue 1: New responsibilities or social roles of the Web, Web Standards, W3C or other SDO such as IPTV Forum Japan
    • TAG: Technical Advisory Group
    • Web and Philosophy Community Group (aka. Philoweb)
    • Web and TV IG
    • Web and Broadcasting BG
  • Issue 2: Control and reduce the traffic of applications dynamically
    • Off-line Web Apps:
      • HTML5/Appcache
      • Webapps WG (package app)
    • DASH and Media Source Proposal:
      • HTML WG
    • Information sharing through ad-hoc network or near field network:
      • Not clear yet. Network level in IETF?
  • Issue 3: Prioritizing Web services under severe natural disasters
    • Somthing like SIP for Layer 7:
      • Web apps WG/ push notification
  • Issue 4: Identity and rescue
    • FYI, Google Person Finder is a good use case that requires the standardization on the issue.
    • Web Identity:
      • W3C may have some XG to treat the issue.
      • Discussion between Japanese gov. and broadcasters. In this BG?
    • Geolocation:
      • Geolocation Working Group
  • Issue 5: How to gather and link emergency information
    • Linked Data Platform Community Group
    • Government Linked Open Data Interest Group
    • Standardized Cloud and Distributed High availability:
      • Not yet clear.
    • Privacy Issues:
      • Not yet clear.
    • Crimes under natural disasters
      • Not yet clear.
  • Issue 6: Smarter combination of mass communication and viral commnication through SNS and TV
    • SNS needs standard:
      • Now in W3C head-lights.
    • Gov. involvement needed. There are a couple of legal and policy issues.