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Swiss Guard equipped with Wi-fi

America's Motorola Corporation has provided approximately 100 guards with Wi-fi-enabled laptops and personal digital assistants, enabling them to prevent vehicles with unauthorised number plates getting into the grounds of the Holy See.

The guards are participating in an open-ended trial for possible use of Wi-fi in other situations.

The high-speed wireless network supports real-time video streaming from closed-circuit television monitors near the Vatican's gates and allows for instant remote access to a database of registered automobile license plates.

"This gives the Swiss Guard an opportunity to enhance their security system," said Margaret Rice-Jones, a Motorola vice president. "It is also an interesting and complete case study for other enterprises to look at" as an example of how Wi-Fi can be used in public services, she said.

Surveillance cameras are now posted at all entrances to St Peter's Square and other public entrances to the Vatican, while pilgrims must pass through metal detectors before entering the basilica.

Swiss Guard equipped with Wi-fi (The Independent/NZ Herald 28/4/04)
Wireless: The expanding vision of Vatican's Holy See (International Herald Tribune 26/4/04)

Swiss Guard
Motorola | Case Study of Vatican State (PDF) | The State of Vatican City Adopts Motorola's Professional Mobile Radio Communications Technology (Media Release)

28 Apr 2004