ARMONK, N.Y. and ANDOVER, Mass. – IBM and The Weather Company through WSI, its global B2B division, on March 31 announced a groundbreaking global strategic alliance to integrate real-time weather insights into business to improve operational performance and decision-making. As part of the alliance, The Weather Company, including WSI will shift its massive weather data services platform to the IBM Cloud and integrate its data with IBM analytics and cloud services.
By combining IBM's cloud computing, industry consulting and analytics expertise with WSI's precision weather data and forecasts, the two companies can now enable entire industries to utilize understanding of weather on business outcomes and take action at a local level. For example:
- Insurers pay more than $1 billion in claims every year for vehicles damaged by hail. WSI's Weather Alert service, together with IBM Analytics, enables insurance providers to send policyholders text messages that alert them to impending hailstorms – and safe locations – so vehicles can be moved before damage occurs. These insights have the potential to save insurers up to $25 per policyholder per year in hail-prone areas, or millions of dollars annually.
Weather is perhaps the single largest external swing factor in business performance – responsible for an annual economic impact of nearly half a trillion dollars in the U.S. alone1. 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.
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.
By migrating its weather data platform to IBM Cloud, WSI will be able to accelerate the growth of one of the largest cloud-based applications in the world. 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.
IBM and WSI will deliver new cloud services to businesses in three key ways:
- 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.
- Cloud and Mobile App Developer 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 advanced analytics through Bluemix, IBM's cloud application development platform.
- Business and Operational Weather Expertise: 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.
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