IBM Research is headed to Rio.
On June 8, IBM and the Brazilian government are planning to announce that IBM will build a new research lab in Brazil. While the final location of the new facility is still being determined, IBM staff are already beginning work at campuses in the large Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
This new lab is the first IBM research facility ever built in South America and the first new IBM Research Lab the company has built in the last 12 years.
The new facility, which will initially employ about 100 researchers and scientists, is part of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative. Right now, IBM has about 3,000 people working in eight different labs in five countries.
For now, IBM Research - Brazil will focus on several different areas of research that include health care, transportation and agriculture. In addition, researchers are working on developing the IT infrastructure needed to bring these technologies into the everyday lives of Brazilians.
The fact that IBM is investing in Brazil and its burgeoning IT infrastructure shows the continuing importance of Brazil to the world economy, especially when it comes to high tech.
For years, Brazil has been lumped in with Russia, India and China as BRIC, the four developing economies that will drive IT spending in the next several years, if not for decades. For IT vendors eager to sell products and services outside the United States and Western Europe, these developing economies are critical to both future success and the bottom line.
"The choice of Brazil for the newest IBM Research Lab is the reflection of the big growth opportunity we have seen here," Ricardo Pelegrini, general manager of IBM Brazil, said in a statement.
"IBM believes technology is an important tool to help the growth of the country and the development of our society," Pelegrini added. "We are proud [to see] our company-in the year it will celebrate 93 years in Brazil-investing even more, creating opportunities and developing new technologies for the benefit of Brazil and of the world."
As part of its research, IBM plans to help the Brazil government use IT to help with large-scale events that will take place in the next few years. In addition to hosting the World Cup tournament in 2014, Brazil is also the host country for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
In addition to doing its own research, IBM is now looking to package its scientific know-how, along with its hardware and software offerings, as a complete IT services package. While this started in 2002, when IBM bought PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting arm, the company has emphasized the concept more and more through its Global Services division.