NEW YORK CITY -- The New York City Fire Department (FDNY), has successfully deployed a wireless platform to allow mobile access to its email system. The platform, using RIM's BlackBerry technology and customized Mail eXtension (MX) software from Consilient Technologies, has been piloted by FDNY over a two-month period and BlackBerry handhelds are now being rolled out at FDNY headquarters.

"This past year, there has been a sense of urgency to implement secure, reliable, wireless communication technology that enables us to easily get information to FDNY staff during emergency situations," said Chief of Operations Sal Cassano.

MX software is used to create a link between the FDNY's e-mail server and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, so that FDNY headquarters can communicate securely with their mobile workforce using the handhelds. The platform is popular in government organizations because of its "always-on" utility and advanced security including end-to-end (Triple DES) encryption, FIPS 140-1 certification and optional support for the S/MIME security standard, according to Consilient.

The initial deployment of BlackBerry and MX is with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Chief of Department and the Chief of Operations. Phase two of the FDNY deployment involves a rollout to a broader user group at the headquarters' administrative level.