PDAs act as dumb terminals for police queries

JULY 13—Handheld devices running PocketBlue software are capable of accessing central law enforcement databases, sharing wireless data, and communicating with wireless notebooks or other personal digital assistants.

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff


JULY 13—Handheld devices running PocketBlue software are capable of accessing central law enforcement databases, sharing wireless data, and communicating with wireless notebooks or other personal digital assistants.

Using PocketBlue, developed by Aether Inc. of Marlborough, Mass., a police officer can enter a query about a license number, an address or a name into a handheld or notebook. The query travels wirelessly to one of two Aether network operations centers in Tempe, Ariz., and Owings Mills, Md.

From the center, the 128-bit encrypted query goes to the appropriate police database server running PocketBlue server software and Packet Cluster Server, both developed by Aether. Packet Cluster Server then routes an answer back to the officer.

Portable devices running PocketBlue function like dumb terminals, avoiding the risks of police communication over open frequencies. The service costs about $90 per registered client per month for unlimited use.

David Grip, director of marketing communications for the Aether's mobile government unit, said police in Lake County, Fla., and the cities of Pasadena and South Pasadena, Calif., are beta-testing the software. He demonstrated PocketBlue at the E-Gov 2001 trade show in Washington this week.


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