Air Force taps Aether for security

Employees at two Air Force bases can securely access e-mail and other information from wireless handheld devices using a solution from Aether Systems Inc., a provider of wireless data products and services.

At Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, personnel are using the Microsoft Corp. Pocket PC and Palm Inc. operating systems along with Aether's ScoutSync server to access their Microsoft Exchange server via a wired or wireless connection, said Ken Whitehead, director of federal operations at Aether. "They have the flexibility to access the information any way they want."

After prototyping personal digital assistants equipped with ScoutSync a year ago, Tyndall expanded the deployment in June to provide access to e-mail applications via Palm and Pocket PC handheld devices.

Langley Air Force Base in Virginia began a similar installation in June after licensing the BlackBerry by Aether wireless e-mail solution, an end-to-end system for Research in Motion Ltd.'s Black.Berry handhelds that includes Aether's services.

"It allows wireless connectivity to Microsoft Exchange servers using RIM handheld devices," Whitehead said.

Don Longueuil, a wireless analyst at Cahners In-Stat Group, said many government agencies—as well as users in the financial, legal and health care industries—have selected BlackBerry solutions instead of Palm solutions because of the advanced security they offer. He said the demand for wireless access to e-mail is exploding in all of those industries.

"With the current market and [information technology] cutbacks, the mission-critical stuff is e-mail," he said.

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