IBM to Open Cognitive Analytics Innovation Centre in Croatia?

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The government is negotiating with the global giant about opening a new technology services centre.

After the recent opening of the global Client Innovation Centre in Zagreb, IBM could also establish the Cognitive Analytics Innovation Centre (CAIC) in Croatia, which would be its primary centre for Central and Eastern Europe, reports Jutarnji List on November 5, 2017.

This week, the government agreed to support a memorandum of understanding with IBM and authorised Martina Dalić, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy, to sign the document with the company. According to the Economy Ministry, this is just the first step in creating a platform for further talks between the government and IBM. The opening of the CAIC would help Croatia deliver high-tech services globally and raise its competitiveness.

“The memorandum of understanding serves solely as a basis for further negotiations aimed at opening the Cognitive Analytics Innovation Centre in Croatia and does not create any obligations for any of the sides,” explained the Ministry.

More detailed information on the possible establishment of the CAIC could not be obtained from either the Ministry or IBM. However, according to unofficial reports, IBM has not yet made the final decision on where the CAIC will be established. As was the case with the Client Innovation Centre, the company is considering several other countries, including probably Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland and Serbia. However, given the tone of the memorandum and the unofficial information, it seems that Croatia is the closest to succeeding. According to the government, the centre would bring Croatia improvement in its global competitiveness and business and investment environment.

Unofficial information from government circles says that the CAIC could be opened no later than in 2019.

The government is ready to provide the necessary leadership and resources to develop the business plan and model, as well as to provide long-lasting support to CAIC from the ministries. Particularly interesting is the section in the memorandum on possible support for the use of Croatian language in some of IBM’s cognitive solutions, such as those for artificial intelligence application.

Experts explain that the centre would greatly assist in the development of solutions for a range of activities – from medical diagnosis, through law, commerce and banking, to public services. However, they warn that Croatia is already facing a lack of IT experts.

On the other hand, in accordance with the memorandum, IBM Croatia intends to explore and discuss the experience and opportunities related to the success of the centre in areas such as staffing, expertise, access to analytics, cognitive technology and education.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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