As reported by Bloomberg, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has finalized an A$1 billion ($740 million) agreement with the Australian government to help improve data security over the next five years. The projected savings of A$100M will be achieved through the use of blockchain technology and automation to protect the data of Australian citizens.
How will the IBM deal work?
Starting from yesterday, Thursday 5, the deal aims to enable citizens across Australia to access technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) via multiple Australian government agencies. According to government estimates, this will save the government A$100M over the next five years and will place the government within the top three digital governments worldwide. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has already ordered A$530,000 in funding for the government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) over the coming year.
IBM returns to prominence after bungled census
Two years ago, IBM paid over A$30M to the Australian government in compensation for its role in bungling the national census. The project was temporarily shut down on two separate occasions due to four denial-of-service attacks. During an interview with Bloomberg, IBM’s Asia Pacific Head Harriet Green said that IBM has convinced the government to approve this latest deal by “working closely throughout the government to build confidence in IBM’s investments in Australia.” IBM has research and development projects in place that employ hundreds of Australians and IBM researchers are currently working on the data security of millions of Australians.
Australian citizens to benefit from a “paperless future”
According to Green, IBM’s deal will have a profound impact on the way that Australian citizens interact with government agencies. “The use of this technology to benefit Australian citizens is at the core of this digital transactional agency,” she said. Citing specific changes, Green mentioned that technology may create a “more effective way” for citizens to enter the country and that “all the major agencies are pledging a much more paperless future.” Australian citizens will benefit from the latest technology, including “some of the most amazing developments in supercomputers,” she suggested.
Blockchain could provide a more effective and cost-effective way to trade
One major benefit that the IBM deal may bring to Australian citizens is reduced banking fees and transaction costs. On July 3, IBM’s Blockchain Platform was used by we.trade, a European blockchain trading platform, to complete live operations for the first time. These operations involved five major banks and twenty companies. Results show that the platform provided a “more effective and cost-effective way” to conduct trade, according to reporting from Cointelegraph. IBM’s new A$1 billion deal with the Australian government could lead to a reduction in banking fees and transaction costs as the use of blockchain technology continues to expand.
This deal will put the Australian government at the forefront of digital governance and should translate into cost-savings for the taxpayer.