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IBM’s Smart Water

4. Environment

Biodiversity and sustainable resource management


International Business Machines (IBM) is the world’s largest technology company. IBM had a long history in dealing with environmental problems. However, they have come a long way since the establishment a corporate policy on environmental protection in 1971. According to IBM, its total hazardous waste decreased by 44% over the past five years, and has decreased by 94.6% since 1987. Over the years, IBM has redesigned processes to eliminate almost all closed loop recycling and now uses more environmental-friendly materials in their place.

10 liters of water is used to make one sheet of paper.  40 liters of water is used to make one slice of bread.  140 liters to make one cup of coffee. 15,500 liters to make one kilogram of beef. Water is used to process raw materials, manufacture products, generate electricity, and to transport people and goods. We desalinate it to build cities in the desert. In the last 100 years global water usage has increased at twice the rate of population growth.

With partnerships with enterprises and governments of all sizes all around the world, IBM’s Advanced Water Management Initiative uses their leading-edge technology in order to better preserve water.


  •   To use technology to improve water management systems.


The IBM Strategic Water Information Management (SWIM) solutions platform includes:

- a combination of "smart" sensors,

- modelling,

- analytics and visualization tools.

This system enables continuous monitoring of physical water infrastructure and environments, and provides the foundation for more robust, reliable, and scalable strategic water management capabilities. For example, in agriculture, these sensors provide detailed information on air quality, soil moisture content and temperature to calculate optimal irrigation schedules.

A few real examples of the SWIM platform already put in place:

- In the Netherlands, IBM is working with partners to build smarter levees that can monitor changing flood conditions and respond accordingly.

- The creation of a data platform to support instrumentation of the entire length of the 315-mile Hudson River for a real-time view of a river system that supplies both industry and individuals.

A collaborative research initiative with the Marine Institute in Ireland, which aims to turn Galway Bay into a living laboratory—instrumenting the bay to gather data on water temperature, currents, wave strength, salinity and marine life, and applying algorithms that can forecast everything from wave patterns over 24 hours to the right time to harvest mussels.



  •   Savings more than $3 million a year at a North American semiconductor plant, through a comprehensive water management solution. 


  •   Better water management which contributes to: preservation, aquatic biodiversity, desalinization, and renewable energy.
United States

Mise à jour le 23/05/2016

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