Tech Bytes

The latest tech news for April 2007.
Clear® Registered Traveler has announced that the Albany County (NY) Airport Authority unanimously selected the company to launch the registered traveler program at the airport, expected in the next 60 days, once an agreement is finalized. Clear allows business travelers and other frequent fliers to pay a fee ($99.95) to be pre-screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and receive a biometric identity card that provides them with expedited passage through airport security checkpoints.
The Government Accountability Office has testified that the Joint Planning and Development Office has made progress in several areas in its planning of the NextGen initiative, but continues to face a number of challenges. Leadership turnover at JPDO and the institute that facilitates the participation of nonfederal stakeholders have raised concerns about the JPDO's stability and the impact of the turnovers on its progress. Stakeholders have concerns about the productivity of some integrated product teams and the pace of the planning effort. In response, JPDO officials are currently proposing several changes to JPDO's organizational structure.

JPDO has also made progress toward releasing several key planning documents on a revised and extended timeline — in some cases — and has moved forward in developing cost estimates for NextGen. Recent reports estimate the total federal cost for NextGen infrastructure through 2025 will range between $15 to $22 billion. Questions remain over which entities will fund and conduct some of the necessary research, development, and demonstration projects.

GAO notes that JPDO has an ongoing challenge of ensuring the involvement of all key stakeholders. Issues have also arisen over whether conflict of interest issues may hamper participation by industry stakeholders.
International RAM Associates (RAM) announces the formation of RAM-Technical Services Group (RAM-TSG), providing electronic and physical security solutions to aviation, commercial, and government clients. RAM-TSG is comprised of industry professionals bringing more than 30 years of experience in the design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of security and IT solutions.
ITT Corporation announces that a team led by the company is one of three chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration to submit a proposal for a major air traffic control system modernization program. The modernization program, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), is the first building block of the Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NGATS), due to be completed by 2025. In its ADS-B pursuit, ITT has teamed with AT&T, Thales, WSI, SAIC, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Sunhillo, and Aerospace Engineering.
The Transportation Security Administration announces the deployment of two Reveal explosives detection systems (EDS) for screening checked baggage at Wichita (KS) Mid-Continent Airport (ICT).

As of January 2007, TSA has deployed 112 Reveal machines at a total of 37 airports, including at the original pilot locations. The two EDS machines at ICT will be located between the Delta Connection and US Airways ticket counters. The Reveal systems, specifically designed for use at small- to medium-sized airports, cost approximately $350,000 each.
California-based Sago Systems, Inc. has announced its first international sales to Australia. The company's passive millimeter-wave security products range from the aPatTM — a hand-held weapons and explosives detector — to the iPatTM — a whole body, walk-up imager. Sago's patented imagers are radiation-free and have attracted international attention because they meet the requirements of public health and privacy
Siemens introduces Sibag Smart, a modular baggage handling system for smaller airports. With the Sibag Smart solution, Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services offers a modular, pre-installed baggage handling system that is suitable for use in airports with an annual volume of up to four million airline passengers. Siemens presented the Sibag Smart for the first time at this year's Passenger Terminal Expo in Barcelona.

(Tech Bytes are compiled by associate editor David Mantey; reach him at

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