Boeing Warms up to PalmPilot

FRAMINGHAM (04/07/2000) - Inside a sprawling assembly plant at Boeing's Seattle headquarters, a support technician reboots a PC on which he has reloaded a set of drivers.

Once done, he taps the screen of his Palm III to enter the job start and stop times on a forms-based timecard application. The data uploads via a wireless campus LAN to a Web server and synchronizes through AvantGo's Enterprise middleware with the back-end database.

He downloads a trouble ticket for the next job, along with directions to the faulty PC. When he arrives, he wirelessly connects again to view a diagnostic flow chart, then skips to the specific documentation he needs. He can fire off an instant message query to other technicians online and get immediate recommendations.

Soon, the Boeing support technicians will be able to fill in a trouble ticket form on the Palm and update the database. That information can then be sifted through to identify chronic PC problems or gaps in the technicians' expertise.

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