BlackBerry for the little guy

TRENDS & TECHNOLOGIES that affect the way government does IT

David Wilmering, product marketing director for Research In Motion, brought news to GCN that could appeal to small agencies out there, especially to state and local jurisdictions that have limited IT budgets and increasingly look to hosted solutions. RIM is rolling out a hosted version of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the one that we in the press assume all agencies run in order to feed their BlackBerry fetishes.

But as Wilmering points out, not everyone has that luxury. 'This way there's no up-front costs and smaller enterprises can pay as they grow.'

This isn't a RIM service, though. Hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server will be offered through third-party service providers. At the time of our prebriefing, Wilmering couldn't say who the providers were, but indicated there were between 30 and 40 lined up. By now you should be able to go to www.blackberry.com/go/hosted for a list.

Wilmering said small agencies would get the same management functionality the big boys get, such as group-based policy administration. And the hosted version of BES will support the same spectrum of messaging platforms that BES does, including Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise.

Doesn't quite do it for you? Maybe a rash of new BlackBerry devices will whet your small agency's appetite. Last month at C3 Expo in New York, RIM CEO James Balsillie said new BlackBerry devices coming out this year would support WiFi and cellular networks. And look for built-in MP3, image capture and Global Positioning System technology. Having escaped the court system (for now, at least), it appears RIM is moving full steam ahead.

For more IT trends and analysis, visit the GCN.com Tech Blog at www.gcn.com/blogs/tech.

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