As the economic crisis worsens, the OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008 provides Federal Government with some reassurance.
Australia’s current technology focus and output is in line with the top priorities of other OECD members, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Information (OECD) Technology Outlook 2008.
With the majority of the OECD’s thirty member democracies now facing (or on the brink of) recession, the report provides an insightful analysis of where it is most worthwhile to continue or implement ICT expenditure.
Taking governments online is listed as the most pressing issue facing economies in a cash crisis (see the medium February 2 2009 Australians go online for Government).
The Interacting with Government Report 2008 confirms that in 2008, two-thirds of people contacting Government did so via the Internet at least once in the past twelve months.
The second highest concern is broadband Internet. This is mirrored by the Federal Government’s implementation of the ambitious $10 billion National Broadband Network (NBN).
According to the report, broadband is changing household Internet use, and Australia is very much consistent with that finding. The Interacting with Government Report states that broadband access continues to increase in Australia, rising from 57% to 68% in 2008. Furthermore, 7 in 10 of those living in metropolitan areas have a broadband connection compared with 6 in 10 people in the rest of Australia.
Notably the fourth in the list of Top Ten ICT Policy Priorities in 2008 is the promotion of IT education. The Federal Government intends to digitally revolutionise schooling in Australia, with a $1.2 billion digital education package, intending to provide every school student in years 9-12 with a computer at a ratio of 1 computer to 2 students.
The top ICT firm (ranked by 2006 revenue) is largely unseen in the Australian Federal ICT market. Siemens, with revenue of US$97 billion is far less known to the Australian market than its runner-up, HP, with revenue of US$92 billion and IBM with US$91 billion.
The Outlook was thoroughly revised in November last year to take account of worsening macroeconomic conditions.
The OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008 is the 9th in a biennial series designed “to provide member countries with a broad overview of trends and near-term prospects in the Information Technology (IT) industry, analysis of the growing impact of IT on the economy and society, developments and emerging applications in selected areas of information technology, and a review of IT policies and new policy directions”.