IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director Glen Boreham has called for government stimulus on technology spending to manage the impact of the global financial crisis in Australia.
Writing today in the Australian Financial Review, Boreham said that "smarter infrastructure is the best path to creating new jobs and stimulating growth".
Boreham claimed that IBM had conducted research in the US, which concluded that a within a year a "$45 billion stimulus" could create a million American jobs by investing in smart grids, e-health and broadband.
"This is exactly how Australia's government and businesses should be thinking," he said. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's $42 billion stimulus package broadly missed the IT industry, although the Federal Government was already making investments in e-health and broadband.
Boreham singled out IT systems that could make national infrastructure smarter as the "key" areas for stimulus investment. "We are heading towards a billion connected objects [globally] — cars, appliances, cameras, pipelines, — comprising the 'internet of things'," he said.
"What this all means is that almost anything can be digitally aware, and therefore more efficient — supply chains, roads, electricity grids, water systems, cities... Despite all of this ... the systems that run Australia and connect us with the world remain analog."
In addition to the stimulus for smarter infrastructure, Boreham called for more "multi-disciplinary qualifications that give students real business skills".
"The graduates from our education system are ill-prepared for the modern workplace," he wrote.