Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IBM Hopes to Benefit From Stimulus Tech Spending

1932's Emergency Relief & Construction Act, championed by President Herbert Hoover, envisioned workers fanning out across America to build roads, bridges, and other vital infrastructure in an effort to get the economy moving and end the Great Depression. Called into service were the unemployed, from lowly bricklayers to skilled engineers and architects, who were hired on by construction firms and other companies receiving funds under the bill.

President Barack Obama's proposed $800 billion-plus economic stimulus package would, similarly, fund a wave of new construction. Obama's program, however, could help revitalize a sector that hadn't even been born in Hoover's time -- the computer industry. Not only does the act, in its present form, provide direct funding for IT projects, such as a $400 million computing system for the Social Security Administration, it would also kick off numerous multimillion-dollar public-works efforts that, while heavy on bricks and mortar, would also include hefty doses of high tech.

"Our country must compete in a world that isn't just getting smaller and 'flatter,' but is also becoming smarter,"
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) CEO Sam Palmisano recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.

Indeed, unlike in the 1930s, the bridges, roadways, tunnels, dams, and other structures that could be built with today's stimulus funds will make heavy use of so-called smart chips -- embedded sensors that allow managers to stay atop maintenance, track usage patterns, and make operational changes on the fly -- and the software that's needed to make sense of the mountains of data they produce. Pricey consulting and integration services will also be required. All told, it's a boon waiting to happen for the IT industry.

Looking to position itself at the head of the pack for an opportunity that IDC says is worth $122 billion by 2012, IBM on Monday rolled out more than 10 new offerings designed to make it easier for businesses and governments to marry data culled from real-world physical infrastructure with the virtual infrastructures that inhabit corporate data centers.

  • 1