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IBM's European Industry Solutions Lab to be moved to Zurich Laboratory

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Zurich, Switzerland, 16 April 1999—Since its opening in February 1997, the IBM Industry Solutions Lab (ISL) in Stuttgart, Germany, has been greatly received by our customers. More than 3,000 have visited the site, and this has resulted in more than 500 new business opportunities. The mission of this lab, along with its sister ISLs in Hawthorne, N.Y., and Yamato, Japan, is to build and strengthen IBM's relationships with customers through collaboration, using our world-class research expertise (more below).

In the desire to further build these relationships and provide IBM's customers with research briefings and solutions development more expeditiously, the lab will be relocated to Rüschlikon, Switzerland, on the site of IBM Research - Zurich. Construction will begin following a ground-breaking ceremony on April 16. The facility is slated to open in one year.

Until the new lab is ready, the Stuttgart ISL will remain the hub, although research related events for insurance, finance, and telecommunications/media industries will be moved by May to interim facilities at the Zurich laboratory. Events for all other sectors and industries will be held in Stuttgart at least through the end of the year. Furthermore, the IBM Forum Stuttgart will continue to support events for all industries and brands focusing on IBM offerings in the future.

Where research meets the market

The Industry Solutions Lab (ISL) is a joint effort between IBM Research and IBM's Global Industries marketing organization. Its branches are located in the USA, Japan, and Europe. Initially set up at IBM Germany's main site in Stuttgart, the European ISL will now move to IBM Research - Zurich in Rüschlikon, Switzerland. The close proximity to research sites is an important aspect for the ISL, as its mission is to provide customers with insights into technologies and novel solutions that are still under development and that may become important in the future -- in contrast to usual customer briefings about products, systems and services that are already available. At the same time, IBM's researchers and development specialists can gain insight into the requirements of actual businesses and get a market's-eye view of how their technology can help solve real-world problems. Permanent displays and demonstrations mainly from IBM Research support the ISL's activities.

A typical day in an ISL starts with the customers' point of view. Between 5 and 15 technical experts and decision makers of one company or institution at a time are invited, and they first have the opportunity to address the IBMers about their companies and concerns. Next the IBM experts will present current trends in information technology as well as their view of the challenges in the customers' industry, and propose key technologies to meet these challenges. The second part of the meeting is devoted to detailed interactive discussions of possible solutions to a customer's problems, which can go as far as deciding on the next steps to be implemented, including agreements on first-of-a-kind solutions, which will be developed by IBM Research in close collaboration with the customer. Examples of such solutions that originated in the Zurich Research Laboratory are the ordering and sale of train tickets over the Internet and the virtual market place, i.e. a web site where a potential customer can interactively obtain offers for a specific product from various vendors simultaneously.

The majority of the presentations on information technology trends and specific challenges, such as outsourcing or knowledge management, as well as on new technologies and solutions are available at all ISL locations, so that customers come in contact with experts and developments worldwide. The ISL in Stuttgart currently showcases approx. 50 solutions to specific problems in all industries. Among others, these include the possibility of Internet-based cooperation and all kinds e-commerce, as well an intelligent data analysis, new technologies for network security or novel ways of interacting with computers. Since the establishment of the ISL in February 1997 more than 1000 customer groups worldwide have taken this new, and clearly appreciated, possibility to interact with research and development specialists in the area of information technology. In Rüschlikon, the first customer visits to its temporary ISL localities are expected later this year.

Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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