Pick BlackBerries with GTSI, others
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Sep 01, 2000
GTSI Corp. last week became the first business-to-government product provider
to offer BlackBerry handheld solutions to its public sector customers.
Research in Motion Inc.'s Blackberry line of products are wireless handheld
devices that come equipped with an embedded wireless modem and keyboard.
The RIM 950 is pager-sized and the 957 is palm-sized. The devices feature
flat-rate airtime, enterprise sever software and other desktop utilities,
including e-mail, calendar and task list functions.
"We made an observation that the government is a very strong potential
market for wireless communication, based on the value of e-mail overall
throughout government," said Anthony LeBlanc, RIM's manager of government
solutions. "Our number one target is definitely the Department of Defense,
and we're already doing business with the Air Force and the Navy and currently
working with six to eight civilian agencies."
The devices are constantly connected to the BlackBerry wireless network,
ensuring that messages are instantly sent or received, and there are no
long-distance connection fees. For security, each handheld is password-protected
and is designated for a single electronic mailbox. Messages are also encrypted.
The BlackBerry products are available on GTSI's National Institutes
of Health Electronic Computer Store (ECS) and NASA's Science and Engineering
Workstation Procurement (SEWP) contracts.
GTSI was the first reseller to offer the BlackBerry line, but RIM, based
in Waterloo, Ontario, has since come to similar agreements with CDWG, PlanetGov
and Intelligent Decisions Inc., LeBlanc said.
The Blackberry handhelds cost between $400 and $500 and flat-rate airtime
is $40 per month. Government discounts are available through each of the
four resellers, LeBlanc said.