Racing to develop traveler's bar code

September 30, 2001|By Stacey Hirsh

A Baltimore company has a product that might heighten airport security in the wake of the attacks - a product as small as a stamp but big enough to hold all the words to the Gettysburg Address.

It's a barcode. Officials at Inc. say they are working on a deal with a major airline to develop a system for identifying travelers, tracking their luggage and making sure they are who they say they are.

"It'll give their name, their address, all of the relevant information you're going to need to know that this person is who he says and that's the flight he's supposed to go on," said Jay Steinmetz, president and founder of

Steinmetz's company, which develops hardware and software for barcoding, embarked on the project after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Steinmetz would disclose few details about the proposed deal.

But he said the company is racing to develop hardware and software that will scan passengers' airline tickets and barcode tags on luggage, confirming their identity and making sure they are on the airplane with their bags.

"It's definitely a rush - high priority," Steinmetz said.

Before Sept. 11, airlines had planned to use similar technology for curbside check-in and to speed up the boarding process, said Ken Stott, a senior account manager who is working on the airline deal.

A testing phase for the technology could begin at airports in about three to six months, Stott estimated.

Longer term, the project could expand business for, whose products are typically used for inventory.

"We're hoping so," Steinmetz said.

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