Base uses wireless to track IT

International Engineering Consortium

The Materiel Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, recently began using a solution from Aether Systems Inc. that offers managers a wireless way to track information technology assets.

With Aether's Corporate Equipment Tracking System, Air Force IT managers use Palm Inc. handheld devices to monitor the base's inventory of computers, printers and other technology products, said Chris Bledsoe, director of Aether's professional services.

The Materiel Systems Group contacted Aether, a provider of wireless data products and services, last June to develop and deploy a mobile system that would enable asset managers to monitor the base's IT inventory.

Using Aether Fusion as the foundation, the company tailored a solution to the Air Force's needs, Bledsoe said. The company bills Aether Fusion as a fully integrated engineering framework for overcoming interoperability issues associated with using wireless technologies in complex IT environments.

Aether completed development of the base's new system Jan. 31, and several Air Force managers are using Palm m505 devices to securely access IT inventory data, Bledsoe said. He added that the project is generating interest from other divisions at the Wright- Patterson base and from other bases, including Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala.

Michael Barry, the Materiel Systems Group's handheld solutions business manager, said the Ohio base previously had difficulty tracking IT assets because of its manual, paper-based system.

With the old system, personnel "couldn't sort or search except manually," Bledsoe said. "But this allows them to sort records by type or asset number, quickly find out who it belongs to...and locate equipment dynamically."

Based on the success of the mobile system, the Materiel Systems Group "will be rapidly expanding the program to benefit asset managers basewide and beyond," Barry said.

Wright-Patterson is headquarters for the Air Force Materiel Command, which conducts research, development, testing and evaluation of weapons and technology. It also provides acquisition and logistics support.

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