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IBM Establishes Global Center of Excellence for Water Management in the Netherlands

New Collaborative Venture to Address Coastal and River Delta Water Management Issues

In response to growing concerns over climate change and its potential impact on low-lying coastal regions, IBM announced that it will establish an IBM Global Center of Excellence for Water Management in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Drawing on IBM consulting, technology and research expertise, the Center will help IBM's public sector clients worldwide to develop enhanced prediction and protection systems for low-lying coastal areas and river deltas.

Coastal areas are considered under greater risk of flooding due to rising sea levels and extreme weather episodes associated with the onset of climate change.

"With more than 60 percent of the world's population living in coastal and low lying delta areas, the need for improved water management systems is an increasing priority," said Sharon Nunes, vice president, IBM Big Green Innovations. "Working with the Dutch government and other local agencies, IBM will apply its talent and expertise to address this complex challenge through application of smart technologies and innovative approaches that include 3-D internet and serious gaming.”

"The Netherlands possesses world-leading expertise in coastal protection. Establishing the Center in Amsterdam enables IBM to utilize not only our own talent and innovation but also to draw on high-level skills of local experts and engineers. This is consistent with IBM's globally integrated enterprise strategy -- drawing on local specialist skills and knowledge to serve our clients worldwide."

The Center will play a key role in delivery of the Dutch Government's Flood Control 2015 water innovation program announced today. Under the program, participants from Dutch business, education and government agencies will collaborate with the goal of preventing low lying delta areas from flooding.

At the outset, the IBM Center will focus on providing Dutch government and disaster control agencies with improved flood forecasting and prediction modeling. It will draw upon IBM expertise in smart sensors and utilize serious gaming technology and 3D internet skills to create realistic modeling and simulations. Over time, the Center will develop additional water management offerings, which will be available to IBM clients worldwide.

"The Dutch have more than 400 years of expertise and tradition in our struggle against water. More than 55% of the Netherlands is below sea level and some 70% of our GDP is produced in this low-lying region. We have always had the need, the expertise and the national commitment to address this issue. Now we need to mobilize business, consultants and researchers to leverage knowledge and expertise available worldwide. IBM's decision to establish a Center of Excellence in Amsterdam will greatly assist this collaborative goal," said Arie Kraaijeveld, Chairman Netherlands Water Partnership.

IBM's involvement in Water Management is part of its 'Big Green Innovations' initiative. Announced in October 2006 as part of IBM's $100 million investment in 10 new businesses generated by InnovationJam, Big Green Innovations is the fruition of an unprecedented experiment in collaborative innovation.

Big Green Innovations has concentrated its efforts on water management, alternative energy and carbon management. It is one of several IBM initiatives dedicated to energy and environmental issues. These include Energy Efficient Technology and Services, Intelligent Utilities and Intelligent Transport.

Projects in which the Big Green Innovations team is involved include a client engagement with the Beacon Institute to establish a technology-based observatory system to allow for minute-to-minute monitoring of New York's Hudson River via an integrated network of sensors and robotics. In addition, as part of IBM's corporate citizenship programs, a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to create a new computer-modeling framework will allow users to simulate the behavior of river basins around the world, helping inform policy and management decisions that conserve the natural environment and benefit the people who rely on these resources.

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