Aether Systems, Inc. a leading provider of wireless data products and services, today announced the availability of PocketBlue™, a wireless handheld application for mobile law enforcement. PocketBlue is the first handheld law enforcement application that ensures both in-vehicle and out-of-vehicle personnel, as well as headquarters, are integrated into an agency’s mobile data system. All connected users are provided with real-time data access, silent and secure communication and system-wide alarms. PocketBlue is the first of several handheld applications Aether has planned for this year.
Over 2,800 public safety agencies nationwide currently use Aether’s wireless, mobile and enterprise products. In law enforcement, over 900 agencies use PacketCluster® Patrol on vehicle-mounted computers. Running on the widest array of handheld devices in the industry, PocketBlue currently extends mobile data and communication to out-of-vehicle personnel on the Palm Vx,™ Research in Motion’s RIM 950 and 957 Wireless Handhelds™, and Symbol’s ruggedized SPT 1733 handheld computer. All devices operate over a cellular digital packet data or Mobitex wireless network.
Extending Secure Mobile Data and Silent Communication to All Types of Users
With the tap of a stylus on the Palm Vx or Symbol handheld devices, or a click of the dial on the RIM, detectives and patrol officers can wirelessly access the National Crime Information Center, National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and the Department of Motor Vehicles databases, over a secure network, to check the status of vehicles, persons, articles and guns, without involving dispatch. A “hit” sends a system-wide alarm to all users, including both handheld and laptop units, as well as dispatch personnel. In addition, digital text messaging support provides secure broadcast of messages and user-to-user communications.
Email Anytime, Anywhere
Addressing the absence of email capabilities for law enforcement handheld users, BlackBerry ™by Aether™, on the RIM 950 or 957™ provides PocketBlue users with access to an electronic mailbox and address book and allows them to relay messages, manage their schedules and store contacts quickly and easily anytime and anywhere.
PocketBlue On The Line
Law enforcement agencies have been beta testing PocketBlue in narcotics, auto theft, marine, agriculture and other special details.
“The PocketBlue handhelds have proven to be a valuable addition to our PacketCluster system. We now have the ability to access information in areas where a full laptop was not feasible in the past,” said Sheriff George E. Knupp, Jr. of the Lake County, FL Sheriff’s Office. “The PocketBlue system does just what we need — it puts the information in the hand (or pocket) of officers in bike, undercover, mounted, investigative and marine units. Unlike PCs, laptops and radios, the handhelds drop into the officer’s pocket or under the seat for quick and inconspicuous access to critical information, which is particularly useful when an officer is undercover.”
Increasing Auto Theft Arrests
“Currently, we have both detectives and uniform officers using PocketBlue,” said Police Chief Michael Berkow of the South Pasadena police department. “The Los Angeles County auto theft task force (TRAP) has found the handhelds to be especially useful during stakeouts and for checking junkyards and auto repair yards. In the latter, police officers, as they walk down the rows of cars, are easily able to run plates and VIN (vehicle identification number) data.”
Flexibility of Subscription or Licensing Plans
Aether is offering an innovative subscription plan that can help agencies greatly simplify purchasing and speed implementation. Subscribing agencies pay an affordable monthly charge of $89.95 as opposed to a large one-time payment. The fee includes software, airtime, warranty repairs and customer support. A traditional software licensing option is available for agencies funding technology investments via grants.
The 21st Century Mobile Patrol-Office
“It comes as no surprise that the use of wireless data by public safety agencies is widespread. It is becoming rare that a patrol vehicle isn’t equipped with a mounted mobile data terminal,” said David Rosi, Vice President and General Manager, Aether Systems, Mobile Government. “However, the 21st century mobile office needs to accommodate all deployed personnel – whether in a patrol vehicle, on foot, on a bike or even on horseback. By introducing PocketBlue, Aether enables agencies to equip all personnel with secure and reliable data communications that enhance both safety and efficiency.”
Aether is currently shipping PocketBlue and has planned an aggressive nationwide rollout over the next year.