NAIROBI, Kenya and YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y., Aug. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is opening its first IBM Research lab on the African continent.
IBM Research - Africa will have its first location in Nairobi, Kenya in collaboration between the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) through the Kenya ICT Board. It will conduct basic and applied research focused on solving problems relevant to Africa and contribute to the building of a science and technology base for the continent.
"IBM's commitment to undertake the proposed research agenda will contribute greatly to our national priorities as part of Kenya's Vision 2030," said His Excellency Honorable Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya. "We look forward to delivering world-class research and innovation as part of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative and playing an important role as an IT leader on the African continent."Key research areas that will be explored by IBM Research - Africa include:
- Next Generation Public Sector: Governments have a mission critical role to play in the growth and sustainable developments in Africa. With the right kind of ICT, including big data solutions, advanced analytics, and cloud technologies, government organizations can draw insights and benefit from the vast amounts of data held by any number of government agencies. This can help advance e-government capabilities such as helping to reduce the cost of social services, improving efficiency and productivity, deterring fraud and abuse, improving citizen access to services, and enabling digital interaction between citizens and the public sector.
- Smarter Cities – with initial focus on water and transportation: Rates of urbanization in Africa are the highest in the world. The single biggest challenge facing African cities is improving access to and quality of city services such as water and transportation. IBM, in collaboration with government, industry and academia, plans to develop Intelligent Operation Centers for African cities – integrated command centers – that can encompass social and mobile computing, geo-spatial and visual analytics, and information models to enable smarter ways of managing city services. The initial focus will be on smarter water systems and traffic management solutions for the region.
- Human Capacity Development: A skills shortage is hindering the leadership and innovation of new industry in Africa. The IBM Research - Africa lab, while carrying out research, will help to elevate the level of ICT and related scientific skills in Kenya by working in collaboration with select universities, government agencies and companies. Boosting the innovation culture in Kenya and engaging local entrepreneurs and innovators in developing solutions that matter to the people of Kenya and the region may also assist in accelerating economic development.
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