Famous tech giant, IBM, has been awarded a contract worth 1 billion AUD (740 million USD) by the Australian government to use blockchain technology and other innovations like hardware and cloud services, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and quantum computing to improve data security in the country.
According to IBM’s Asia Pacific head, Harriet Green, during an interview with Bloomberg TV, the contract will involve the provision of automation and blockchain services to various federal departments, including that of defense and home affairs. The “youth of the technology” and the employment of Australians to support and help the implementation would be hallmarks of the new partnership.
According to the recent press release by the Australian government, the mouth-watering deal is intended to bring “more self-service, automation, and digitization to Australia’s government services.” These services would include joint programs in cyber-security, enhancements to existing contracts with several agencies and the assigning of IBM research teams to further the use of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and blockchain in government services. The agreement between both parties is to run till 2023, and it is the highest value contract ever negotiated by the government of Australia.
David La Rose, IBM’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand in the press release said that:
“It shows trust and belief in our ability to transform and provide world-leading capabilities, leveraging our investments locally in AI, blockchain, quantum, and cloud. We look forward to helping the Australian Government to re-define the digital experience.”
Before the deal with the Australian government, IBM has had a number of similar deals with other banks and large firms across the world like the $500 million, 10 year deal cloud computing contract with the Italian bank, Banca Carige. Another $320 million contract with Denmark’s KMD to supply cloud and AI services, and some other agreements with companies like Exxon-Mobil (XOM) and Bausch & Lomb agreeing to move their workload data to IBM’s cloud
The deal was reportedly agreed after IBM decided to pay more than 30 million AUD in compensation to the Australian government for its role in the botched national census, two years ago. The survey was hit by four distributed denial of service attacks that temporarily shut down the national census which holds, twice every 10years.
The computing company which began in 1911, is now working on reinventing itself by becoming a cloud-first operator with the ability to land big banking and government contracts. IBM stated that its strategic imperative segments, which consists of cloud, analytics, mobile, social, and security accounted for about 47 percent of revenue last quarter.
The cloud business alone accounted for 22 percent of IBM’s revenue in the first quarter of 2018. This reflects the fact that IBM prioritizes cloud services, as well as newer offerings like its blockchain platform, Watson AI services for enterprises, cyber-security and quantum computing.