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IBM adding 20 jobs to innovation hub

IBM is adding 20 jobs at its innovation center in the Key Center.

The new jobs are from Bluewolf, which specializes in customer relationship management and cloud computing.

The jobs will boost employment at the IBM Buffalo Innovation Center to 185. IBM has pledged to bring 500 jobs to the hub by 2021,  either through IBM itself or its clients and partners. The average pay for the Bluewolf jobs is expected to top $100,000 a year, state officials said.

The hub, which opened in 2015, is owned by the state as part of the Cuomo administration's Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.

State contract for IBM’s new facility is a boost for region’s infant tech sector

The information technology hub has access to IBM's Watson technology and can offer a variety of data analytic services. IBM also provides technical services and support to state agencies from the hub.

Part of IBM’s plan to build the Innovation Center’s cadre of clients for its data analytics and other tech services is to tap into the company’s Watson computing platform, which uses natural language processing and machine learning to sift through large amounts of unstructured data.

Analysts at the Innovation Center will be able to tap into its capabilities, which can be a valuable tool in helping clients, especially in the health care field, make sense out of vast amounts of often-unrelated and hard-to-categorize data.

The Innovation Center is aimed at bolstering a local technology sector in the region that is undersized by national standards.

"The IT hub was designed to grow IT jobs in Western New York," said Howard Zemsky, the Buffalo developer who serves as president of Empire State Development.

The state spent $55 million on the project, including $30 million to acquire the software that center uses. The other $25 million was used to buy seven floors in the Key Center for the IBM facility and then build it out and equip it.

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