With the acquisition of The Weather Company’s digital properties and a Twitter data collaboration, IBM can offer a range of more advanced data products and services.
IBM on Oct. 28 announced that it will acquire the Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.
Why the Weather Company? The company’s models analyze data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones, and 50,000 airline flights per day, according to IBM. That allows Big Blue to offer data products and services to clients in the media, aviation, energy, insurance, and government industries.
The acquisition of the Weather Company’s digital properties will also serve as the foundation for the new Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform, building on a $3 billion commitment made by IBM in March 2015 to invest in related offerings and services.
Use Cases: Supply Chain, Customer Behavior, Energy
IBM stated that the Weather Company’s data, coupled with IBM’s global cloud and cognitive capabilities of Watson, will let companies link business and sensor data with weather data and other information in real-time. One use case is supply-chain management: For example, predictive weather analytics coupled with real-time analysis of social media chatter and transportation flows can help retailers and distributors fine-tune availability of goods, IBM said. (Read our supply-chain use cases for component manufacturing and food distribution).
Another use case is airline fuel consumption. Also, as we’ve previously covered, weather data is also routinely used in real-time power production and building-energy management.
Weather and Twitter Data
The acquisition of the Weather Company’s digital properties follows an Oct. 26 announcement of IBM Insight Cloud Services, with collaborations from Twitter and The Weather Company.
IBM said its cloud service will help clients combine their own data, weather, Twitter and open data sets to uncover insights. Services include:
- IBM Insight APIs: Four new APIs that allow developers to incorporate historical weather data and two new APIs to allow incorporation of Twitter data.
- IBM Insight Data Packages for Weather: Bundled data sets customized for specific industries and that include a comprehensive selection of weather data from a variety of feeds.
- IBM Industry Analytics: Designed to allow business owners to address key issues facing their industries with customized insights. This includes customer behavior, merchandising, market profiling and more. (Data from Twitter and from online reviews is often frequently used in sentiment analysis in the retail and financial services sector).
IBM said the data insights service has been tested and proven to support over 15 billion API calls a day with no degradation and high availability. Along with Twitter and The Weather Company data, it boasts over 150 open data sources with more being regularly added.
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