SOURCE: IBM

May 18, 2005 17:17 ET

IBM Launches Economic Development Grid Initiative; Greater Cleveland First Region to Benefit

State and Local Governments, Higher Education, Research and Healthcare Providers to Benefit From IBM's Consulting Expertise in Leveraging Industry Skill, Grid and Linux Technologies

SOMERS, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 18, 2005 -- IBM today announced an initiative to enable communities worldwide to stimulate economic growth through the use of Grid computing and other open standard technologies, such as Linux. Cleveland is the first region to benefit from this Economic Development Grid initiative, which is part of IBM's government development focus area to allow state and local governments, higher education establishments, and local businesses to share information by leveraging computing power and resources that benefit communities.

Information technology and open collaboration are being recognized as ways to help governments drive economic development and also provide cost-effective services to their citizens. Governments are interested in Grid computing, which allows organizations to dynamically share information and computer resources, because it provides benefits that are not available with traditional IT infrastructure strategies. Grid computing applications in healthcare, life sciences, software development, digital media, manufacturing and petroleum can all enable economic benefits.

As broadband networks become available in municipalities, local governments have the opportunity to establish new economic development strategies that are based on intellectual capital industries such as software development and medical research. Many small businesses in these industries lack the working capital to purchase the large computer servers required to meet business objectives. A local government could attract small- to medium-sized businesses to its region by leading the effort to enable a virtual super-computing environment that would cost effectively provide businesses with the computer processing power they need.

There are many types of Grid computing implementations that can help communities drive economic growth. A couple of examples include the previously mentioned compute-intensive Grids for software development and medical research, as well as more data intensive Grids that deliver collaboration benefits for healthcare and education.

The first region to benefit from this groundbreaking initiative is Greater Cleveland, which is examining a number of collaboration Grids. IBM, through its Business Consulting Services unit, has recently completed work with OneCleveland, a nonprofit organization funded by its subscribers (a group of government, educational, research, healthcare and other non-profit organizations), which provides community-based ultra broadband networking services, to evaluate the potential of using technologies such as Grid computing to support its economic development initiatives.

IBM worked with OneCleveland to identify areas of community collaboration that would benefit from a Grid computing infrastructure. This project focuses on educational, governmental, research, arts, cultural and healthcare organizations and culminated in a business case that identified several Grid opportunities that will help drive the region's commitment to be a true digital community.

"We are very pleased with the work IBM has done to help us evaluate the potential of using Grid computing," said Scot Rourke, president, OneCleveland. "It is an exciting time for us right now. By partnering with IBM and utilizing its expertise in grid computing and their deep domain expertise in our focus areas, we will have the resources necessary to affordably enhance the collaboration among our healthcare, education, research and government organizations. Through our partnership, we will enhance our local economy, bring more jobs and attract new businesses to the region."

Types of Economic Development Projects for OneCleveland include:

--  Healthcare Collaborative Grid - This collaborative Grid would allow
    hospitals to share information, ultimately allowing for improved health
    care for patients through collaboration among medical professionals.
    
--  Public Information Grid - Designed to offer broad community impact by
    delivering local government information to citizens. It will improve the
    visibility of government information and services to citizens, while
    improving customer service at reduced cost.
    
--  K-12 Outreach Grid - An example of a data-sharing collaborative Grid,
    this would allow the K-12 educational system to tap into the resources from
    numerous school systems, as well as universities and content providers to
    help teachers deliver higher quality and compelling educational programs
    with the goal of increasing graduation rates. As another example, a High
    School Outreach Grid would allow universities to attract students,
    increasing enrollment in local and public universities.
    
--  Higher Education Collaborative Grid - By further enabling distance
    learning, these collaborative Grids can provide a more effective way for
    students to learn. They will make education more accessible to students who
    may not have been able to participate, ultimately providing an increase in
    attendance in local Ohio universities.
    
Open standards and Grid computing are key components to creating a foundation that allows state and local business to drive enhanced economic development through innovation.

IBM is helping communities in the U.S. and globally to expand economic development in innovative ways by embracing Grid computing and open-standards-based technologies. Communities are able to harness their immense unused computational power, increase collaboration between governments, educational and business institutions, to utilize new and existing technologies in innovative ways, by providing access to information, IT resources and computing capabilities previously unavailable. IBM solutions are enhancing the value of small business attraction, shared educational resources, local healthcare services, collaborative research and distance learning programs.

"OneCleveland illustrates an innovative use of information technology through a practical approach that governments worldwide can use to deliver greater value for their citizens," said Todd Ramsey, General Manager, IBM Global Government Industry. "This approach could be applied wherever governments wish to formalize and support collaborations among a community of individuals or organizations. The OneCleveland experience is a direct fit in situations such as regional economic development where governments see collaboration as a strategy to generate community value."

"IBM has been using its innovative expertise in areas such as Grid computing and open standards to help establish a truly collaborative model. This approach bonds together local entities to share resources resulting in improvements for businesses, educational programs while enhancing the quality of life within communities," said Ken King, IBM's vice president of Grid computing. "This work demonstrates IBM's ability to deliver innovation that matters, impacting education, intellectual property, tax policies, healthcare organizations and small businesses. IBM has the experience, skills and resources to support customers of all sizes, across all geographies, delivering solutions on a local, national and global basis."

Better utilization of communities' limited resources and IT investments will allow communities to remain competitive and accelerate their economic development. Also, collaboration among local and regional organizations can help stimulate local economies by creating new jobs, attracting highly skilled workers and retaining growth companies.

About IBM

IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business on demand. For more information about IBM's Grid computing business, please visit www.ibm.com/grid.

About OneCleveland

OneCleveland is a nonprofit provider of community-based ultra broadband networking services that enables educational, governmental, research, arts and cultural, healthcare and nonprofit organizations across Northeast Ohio. OneCleveland was recently named a finalist in the international competition for Top 7 Intelligent Community of the Year hosted by the Intelligent Community Foundation. OneCleveland's mission is to stimulate economic activity in the region by enabling adoption of new products and applications that take advantage of the speeds and capacity of its ultra broadband network. For more information, visit OneCleveland online at www.onecleveland.org.

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