cloudy road

For the average smartphone owner, weather apps are extremely useful. At your fingertips, you have the temperature, hourly predictions, and a radar screen that can be minimized or maximized at your convenience.

Weather apps can be a boon for businesses, too, which is why IBM and The Weather Company are teaming up. As Martin Anderson explained in The Stack, weather data services will be integrated into IBM’s cloud, “where integration with IBM’s Watson AI-analytics system will combine with an unprecedented input stream from [Internet of Things] IoT-based devices to furnish real-time weather-based business alerts.” Real-time weather data is now able to provide significant benefits to businesses of all kinds.

According to ZDNet, there are three prime areas where the relationship between weather information and cloud-driven services will be focused: Watson Analytics for Weather, which will provide both real-time and historical weather data; Cloud and Mobile App Developer Tools, which will allow developers to build apps that use weather data; and Business and Operational Weather Expertise, which will help businesses learn how to adapt weather data to their needs.

How the IoT-driven weather apps are used will be industry specific, Alex Brisbourne, CEO of service provider of global machine-to-machine (M2M) network connectivity company KORE, stated in an email interview.

“If you’re a company like Puresense that deals in extremely precise water management for the farming industry, you’re going to use sensors in the field to track a host of weather-related factors such relative humidity, expected rainfall, actual rainfall, cloud cover, etc., then use that data for irrigation management processes to deliver the correct amount, and only the correct amount, of water to optimize a crop’s production throughout its growth cycle,” Brisbourne said.

Companies like INRIX that provides traffic management for both public and private sectors would benefit from incorporating real-time weather since, in many cities, the sight of one raindrop can alter the flow of traffic immensely, Brisbourne added. Fleet management applications would benefit from knowing the traffic patterns of weather as well, to alter route decisions for drivers on the fly.

In retail, companies can adjust staffing and supply chain strategies around expected weather. Storm forecasts typically bring with them spikes in grocery sales and seasonal items such as shovels, sand, salt and other specialty gear. The retailer that is working from a position of advanced notice and plans accordingly stands to increase its brand value when it becomes the one store that still has all these “emergency” items in stock.

Across all industries, triggering IoT devices to react to weather updates will enhance business operations, helping them instantly analyze options and make decisions based on the best outcome, rather than simply reacting to circumstances as they occur, without being prepared for the situation. With IoT-driven weather data, you’ll never get caught in a storm without an umbrella again. (Or, if you’re a retailer, a rack of umbrellas for sale.)

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Carl Krupitzer

Carl is CEO and co-founder of ThingLogix

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