IBM Corp. is announcing today a new business unit focused on the Internet of Things and a new partnership with The Weather Company as an example of the services it will be offering to businesses.

The Weather Company, which most of us know about from The Weather Channel, also has a professional division called WSI. Overall, the Weather Company provides 26 billion forecasts per day around the world, compiled from 100,000 private weather sensors, aircraft and drones, in addition to smartphones, buildings, and vehicles. Now The Weather Company is migrating its data platform to IBM Cloud. IBM, in turn, will plug its customers into those real-time weather insights.

The partnership could result in drivers receiving text messages from their insurance providers when it’s about to hail, informing them of where to store their vehicles to avoid damage. It could also help retailers adjust staffing and supply levels if a polar vortex-grade cold snap is about to disrupt their business. Or help utility companies plan for sudden surges in power demand during a heat wave.

IBM and WSI will work together to offer several new services to businesses:

  • Watson Analytics for Weather, integrating historical and real-time weather data into business operations and decision-making with IBM analytics platforms. The companies will be working together on solutions for insurance, energy and utilities, retail, and logistics among others.
  • Cloud and mobile app developer tools, allowing third-parties to build mobile and web apps from WSI data combined with data from operational systems, connected devices, and sensors.
  • Business and operational weather expertise. IBM plans to train thousands of consultants from its IBM Global Business Services to combine WSI data with other sources to more effectively interpret industry pain points, hopefully gaining new insights and solving business problems.

The announcement from Big Blue is similar to a deal it struck with Twitter last October. It also allows enterprises to take a stream of real-time data – and historical data – and incorporate it into their daily operations with IBM’s tools and solutions. That partnership endeavours to help businesses answer questions like “What do customers like best about my products?”

Now perhaps, businesses will be able to ask “What’s the weather like when customers are most likely to buy my products?”

 

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