IBM (NYSE: IBM) has chosen northern Chile's Antofagasta city as one of 23 urbes 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 the infrastructure of cities 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.
Specifically 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 Antofagasta, with a focus on improving water treatment and optimization.
According to IBM Chile's 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 initiating the process for both medium and long-term economic stability.
The port city of Antofagasta is located 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 previously selecting the country as one of the 20 emerging markets it would invest in and installing its operations center for northern Chile in Antofagasta.