How’s the Weather?


In the autumn of 2015, IBM, initials which initially stood for International Business Machines, made what might be considered a rather odd purchase, for a company today known as a leader in technology. IBM actually bought The Weather Company.

The plan is to put the technology, called Watson AI to work on the Internet of Things incorporating an immense amount of data about the clouds, if you will, into the cloud.

This acquisition most assuredly expands IBM’s already global position, in the business world, in an area that no longer depends on a spinning weather vain to know which way the wind is blowing.

The Weather Channel, which so many people rely on when inclement meteorological conditions are approaching, was not sold to IBM, so do not expect to see your favorite weather forecaster in a short sleeved, button down, white shirt, with a pocket protector and conservative tie, anytime soon. However, IBM has acquired a license to access the vast amounts of data, which The Weather Channel owns.

The Weather Company’s mobile application process over 26 billion hits daily, that is a lot of information and a lot of people wanting access to said information.

Why has IBM gotten into the weather business and why should you care? What plans does IBM have for all of this data?

Obviously, this acquisition is not just about whether or not it is raining and how much will it rain; rather, IBM is looking at sharing/selling data about how the incoming rain impacts everything, from say what individuals buy when a storm is approaching to how their purchases perform in two inches of rain verses forty inches of rain. What is the impact of rain on children missing school or parents calling in sick?  Do more people go to the doctor because of the weather?  Are there more flat tires in the rain?  Is more gas sold, or vacations cancelled, or business travel delayed because of weather?  What about the impact of the rain on farmers or people in the construction business or tourisms and entertainment?

Let’s face it, the weather impacts our life, whether we want it to or not; and IBM wants to know exactly what those two inches of rain mean to you, and thus to the utility companies, and the travel industry, the health care enterprises, the insurance trade, and the many manufacturing industries which are a part of our global lives – in the tech world, this is called analytics – and that is the buzz word you need to know and understand to stay safely Connected.

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