Last week, IBM announced their definitive agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s cloud data platform which powers the fourth most-used mobile app in the United States dailyand handles some26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services every day. The deal also extends to the Weather Company’s cloud-based web properties which include WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground, and The Weather Company brand. Additionally, the Weather Channel will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long term contract.
IBM and The Weather Company’s technology and expertise combined will create a foundation for the launch of the Watson IoT unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform. The foundation builds on a $3B commitment made by IBM in March 2015 to invest in related offerings and services.
Their deal will extend the reach of IBM’s cloud data services capabilities and expand The Weather Company’s business capabilities and consumer reach on a global scale. The Weather Company’s cloud-based data platform will let IBM collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform.
Ever since their announcement, IBM developers and researchers have significantly sped up work on new cloud-based technologies, solutions, and services. Their work will apply the power of Watson’s cognitive computing to the Internet of Things, an environment where physical objects are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, or network connectivity, giving them the ability to send and receive data.
IBM’s goal is to discover new patterns that may help businesses, institutions and individuals make better decisions. It joins a growing portfolio of Watson-fueled businesses which include the Watson Health unit announced in April 2015.
“The Weather Company’s extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM’s global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things, providing our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real time,” said John Kelly, senior vice presidentofIBM Solutions Portfolio and Research. “This powerful cloud platform will position IBM to arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights that will help enterprises gain clarity and take action from the oceans of data being generated around them.”
Cognitive computing is the stimulation of the human thinking process in self-learning systems. In other words, these systems handle complex situations that are more human than technical. Although they haven’t been around for very long, their insights derived from data generated by the Internet of Things are already transforming the way entire industries operate.
For example, weather predictions combined with a deep understanding of transportation flows and other related data, as well as how users of social media such as Twitter or Facebook could possibly react can help retailers and distributors finely tune and maintain availability of vital goods in times of need.
Airlines can save millions of dollars annually by drawing from multiple real-time and historical data sources to improve the efficiency of fuel consumption, reduce delays and the overcrowding of airports, and improve passenger safety during disruptive conditions.
The possibilities are literally endless. With how much potential their partnership holds, IBM and The Weather Company might as well be on the track of revolutionizing industries as we know them.
We will definitely be keeping a close watch on how well the Watson IoT unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform does when they launch. What do you think of them? Let us know in the comments below.
For more information on IBM and The Weather Company, please visit: ibm.biz/ibmweather
To view a Vine video about the news visit: ibm.biz/ibmvine
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