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IBM (NYSE: IBM) has chosen Antofagasta in northern Chile as one of 23 cities worldwide to participate in its global Smarter Cities Challenge, according to a press release from IBM.
IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge, valued at US$50mn, aims to modernize cities' infrastructure through a joint effort with local governments, non-profit civic organizations and small companies. The initiative also aims to push models and recommendations to provide more efficient and effective services to residents.
In Antofagasta, the program will be carried out in conjunction with the municipality and led by a group of international IBM consulting specialists, to create advanced technology and a strategic technological model for the city, focusing on improving water treatment and optimization.
According to IBM Chile technology services manager Rafael Guzmán, Antofagasta has become a city of interest for IBM because of its needs, as well as its development and research potential. He highlighted the importance of water resources in helping to guarantee medium and long-term economic stability.
The port city of Antofagasta is in the Atacama desert - the world's driest - and is closely linked to mining activity. As such, water issues are of extreme importance.
IBM's move is its latest step in Chile, after selecting the country as one of 20 emerging markets where it would invest and installing in Antofagasta its operations center for the country's north.