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Weather Report: Clouds and Data

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As many Minnesotans know the weather is a regular topic of conversation around home and around the water cooler at work.  Today let’s look at how cloud and big data are impacting weather forecasting.

A recent article on IBM’s Smarter Planet highlights the improvements The Weather Company (owner of The Weather Channel) has gained from using cloud and big data to forecast the weather and make decisions, “The Weather Company is partnering with IBM to deliver those forecasts in real-time for 2.2 billion locations across the globe – a feat that would have been unthinkable without the recent advancements in cloud, mobile and data analytics.” Here are some highlights from the article:

Big Data. Mark Gildersleeve president of The Weather Company’s business division explains, “Weather forecasting has become this great Internet of Things story. Customers use smartphones to request forecasts, and many – over 80% – also allow us to collect their location data, plus atmospheric pressure data, which improves our forecast modeling. In the future, user-generated content – photos and videos – will supplement this.” He further adds, “Mobile usage has created this massive ramp-up in the consumption of weather information, and cloud allows us to meet that demand.”

Cloud. Cloud has helped The Weather Company to forecast even faster and more precise, “It [cloud] allows us to do data analytics on the fly. It allows us to be more precise, more timely and everywhere. We used to create forecasts every six hours. We now update those forecasts every 15 minutes for 2.2 billion locations,” Mr. Gildersleeve also adds, “Cloud equals speed in many ways. It improves the user experience as well as the speed of our decision-making.”

Cloud can provide agility and speed and data can provide power to make better decisions. Cloud solutions are not one-size-fits-all so its important to understand your needs and consider what options and solutions will work best for you business.