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IBM brings the weather to retailers; teams up with parent of Weather Channel


Armonk, N.Y. – The weather is traditionally a topic for conversation when there is nothing else to discuss, but for retailers knowing what the weather will be is a vital concern. IBM and The Weather Company, parent company of the Weather Channel, are partnering to integrate real-time weather insights into business to improve operational performance and decision-making.

“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. alone,” according to IBM.

As part of the alliance, The Weather Company, including its global business-to-business division WSI, will shift its weather data services platform to the IBM cloud and integrate its data with IBM analytics and cloud services. 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. Its data fuels the weather apps for Apple, Google, Microsoft and others. It also sells its weather data to thousands of companies, including retailers and airlines.

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.

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