BlackBerry wireless handhelds used at Boston airport

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is arming State Police troopers with wireless handheld computers to check up electronically on passengers, airport employees and vehicles at Logan International Airport.

State Trooper Barry Newell takes his BlackBerry with him as he patrols Logan International. If he sees a suspicious person and wants to know if that person is on the FBI terrorist watch list, he can check immediately without using a mobile radio to call a dispatcher or using a computer.  “The beauty of this system is you can do it yourself,” Newell told Associated Press.

The system consists of BlackBerry wireless handhelds enhanced with mobile software provided by Aether Systems. Aether`s PocketBlue allows troopers to run a check quickly through the National Crime Information Center on outstanding warrants, previous felonies or stolen vehicles. Individuals and cars are selected randomly as troopers patrol various areas of the airport. If the program proves successful, Massport will eye expanding the system to include state records and tying into federal watch lists.

“As our troopers patrol terminals and garages randomly interviewing passengers, this technology allows them to check immediately if an individual is wanted by law enforcement,” said Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., Acting Executive Director for Massport. “This gives our agents an added tool as they conduct one-on-one interviews and strengthen our multi-layered security system at Logan.”

The troopers using the Aether wireless technology have concentrated their patrols in the airport terminals, parking facilities and the taxi pool. The PocketBlue software is being provided by the government division of Aether, which is located in Marlborough, Mass.


“We are pleased to be part of Massport`s initiative to implement best-in-class security procedures at Logan Airport,” said Mike Mancuso, Group President, Aether Systems. “Massport recognizes that innovative wireless applications such as PocketBlue create an infrastructure for effective command, control, communications and intelligence. Logan is leading the way for airports around the country, as they join the ranks of other government agencies who are achieving their Homeland Security objectives with PocketBlue.”

Through Aether Fusion, Aether`s wireless enabling technology foundation, Aether develops, deploys and manages wireless solutions built on industry standard technology and backed by Aether`s experience in wireless hosting, software and services.

The BlackBerry is a product of Research In Motion (RIM), a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of wireless solutions for the mobile communications market. Through development and integration of hardware, software and services, RIM provides solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including e-mail, messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications.

RIM technology also enables a broad array of third party developers and manufacturers around the world to enhance their products and services with wireless connectivity. Founded in 1984 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, RIM operates offices in Canada, the United States, England, France and Germany.

Two weeks ago, Aether Systems announced that its Aether Fusion, a wireless enabling technology, had been selected as the winner of the 2001 Mobile Star Award for Best Enterprise Mobile Application.

Presented by MobileVillage, a mobile and wireless market development company, Aether was chosen for the honor by subscribers of MobileVillage?fs weekly newsletter, MobileVillage Weekly, which reaches thousands of end-users and companies in the mobile and wireless industry.