IBM Nabs Cloud, Big Data, IoT Deal With The Weather Company

IBM announced it has struck a partnership with The Weather Company to integrate its cloud, analytics and IoT technology with weather data services.

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IBM and The Weather Company’s WSI Division announced a global strategic alliance under which WSI will shift its massive weather data services platform to the IBM Cloud and integrate its data with IBM analytics and cloud services.

In doing so, WSI will be able to accelerate the growth of one of the largest cloud-based applications in the world, IBM said.

Partnering with IBM also will enable enterprise clients and industry ecosystems to more easily integrate WSI weather data – including rapidly updated forecasts – into their operations and decision-making. Once integrated with enterprise processes, weather data can be combined with data from supply chains, customer buying patterns and other sources to create more valuable insights.

Weather is a key factor in business performance – responsible for an annual economic impact of nearly half a trillion dollars in the U.S. alone, IBM said. While weather prediction is increasingly precise and granular, business systems generally assume every day is the same. As a result, knowledge of impending extreme weather disruptions – or even routine disruptions that drive well-understood behaviors and systemic reactions – don’t always trigger operational responses. Combining weather data with traditional business data and rich data from an unprecedented number of Internet of Things- (IoT) enabled systems and devices will fundamentally transform enterprise decision-making, IBM said.

The IoT and cloud computing allow for collection of data from more than 100,000 weather sensors and aircraft, millions of smartphones, buildings and even moving vehicles. WSI’s forecasting system ingests and processes data from thousands of sources, resulting in approximately 2.2 billion unique forecast points worldwide, and averages more than 10 billion forecasts a day on active weather days.

“There’s an opportunity to inform all business operations and decision-making with real-time actionable insight delivered securely via the cloud and extracted from all this data collected from sensors all over the planet,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice president of IBM Analytics, in a statement. “The Weather Company and IBM partnership can be a catalyst to making critical business systems even smarter.”

IBM and WSI will deliver new cloud services to businesses in three primary ways: Watson analytics for Weather, cloud and mobile app developer tools, and business and operational weather expertise. With Watson Analytics for Weather, IBM and WSI will enable easy integration of historical and real-time weather data in business operations and decision making with IBM analytics platforms such as Watson Analytics. The companies will jointly develop industry solutions for insurance, energy & utilities, retail and logistics among others.

Moreover, with the new tools, entrepreneurs and software developers will be able to rapidly build mobile and Web apps that take advantage of WSI data combined with data from operational systems, connected devices and sensors using analytics through Bluemix, IBM’s cloud application development platform. In addition, thousands of consultants from across IBM Global Business Services will be trained to combine WSI data with other sources to more effectively interpret industry pain points, providing clients new insights that solve business problems.