The Weather Co Teams with IBM for Real-Time Analysis

Every year, extreme and unpredictable weather in the U.S. causes damage and disruption for people and businesses -- an estimated $485 billion annually, according to a 2011 American Meteorological Society estimate that is almost certainly higher today. Better data modeling and analytics, though, have the potential to improve forecasts and reduce some of those risks, which is why The Weather Company is teaming with IBM.

Announced Tuesday, the partnership will involve moving The Weather Company's data services platform to IBM's cloud and then integrating those services with IBM's. One key element of the collaboration will see IBM using its Watson Analytics to enable better decision-making by companies in especially weather-sensitive industries like insurance, utilities, retail and logistics. (Watson is the IBM cognitive computing system that famously beat human champions on the game show Jeopardy!)

Working together with IBM, The Weather Company -- including its WSI global business-to-business division -- will also enable developers and entrepreneurs to more easily build mobile and Web apps based on the latest weather data and analytics. Consultants with IBM's Global Business Services will also work with WSI to combine data from The Weather Company with other sources to develop new ways of addressing businesses' weather-related problems.

$1 Billion in Costs from Hail Alone

"Together, we'll help businesses and governments transform their decisions and operations around weather fluctuation at a scale that hasn't been possible until now," said David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company, whose portfolio also includes The Weather Channel, weather.com and Weather Underground. "This is a watershed moment for businesses that have long been impacted by weather but haven't had the rich data or enhanced decision-making ability to drive positive business outcomes."

Hailstorms, for example, cost insurance companies in the U.S. more than $1 billion a year in claims for damage to vehicles....

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