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The Weather Enterprise: A new frontier

TWC is in a unique category. It is the world's largest private weather enterprise helping people make informed decisions and take action in the face of weather. When IBM purchased TWC an array of opportunity unfolded for both companies: consumer engagement around weather-based interactions and events; Situational awareness and impact of operations (e.g. flight tracking), Operational Efficiency Measures, Supply Chain Optimization and People/Asset protection. Here is a short overview of the ways IBM customers are leveraging TWC solutions and services

TWC's business is based on big data to begin with (weather prediction). Early on there was an understanding that weather data could be commoditized. The notion that you need to create competitive advantage to your data. So the company invested heavily in gathering data and its derivatives (e.g. TWC's acquisition of weather underground). The expectation from mobile users for TWC is for instant and hyper local weather information. As climate changes the traditional weather forecasting does not work well. One summer 61% of the US was in drought conditions and 9.2MM acres charred; 3rd highest in 13 years. This is important to TWCs audience and to advertisers as well. Many consumer purchased are based on weather related patterns. The more data fits in to the revenue side of the business the more it plays into the storytelling part of the business as well. Data is not just about the audience but about the weather story itself. The Data that TWC acquires and analyzes is on a vast scale. It can help address two key needs:

The consumer aspect

For consumer facing services TWC's weather intelligent marketing platform creates hyper-local marketplaces. Marketers can gain consumer insights: How do you feel? Who do you contact? Where do you eat? What do you wear? How do you commute? What do you do? what do you buy? Weather impacts $5 Trillion or approximately 1/3 of the US economy (Penn state U, 2002)

The obvious and historical application for consumer data is in better advertising and targeting. There is even a neat trick in weather data to discern if a visitor is inquiring about weather local to them or if they are traveling. Use the comment box bellow to answer this question: how does a weather forecast site know if you are at home or traveling to a new location just based on the way you inquire about the weather? Hint: it is NOT about cookies or deep profile. It is a surprisingly simple method!

The business enterprise

The true gem in weather information is that it can help drive and power many facets of business operations: for a large CPG firm weather data helps optimize their supply chain so their retailers never run out of umbrellas when an anomaly rainstorm occurs in San Paulo, Brazil. This is critical because a sold out situation is a missed opportunity not only for the manufacturer but for the retailer who will then replenish with product from another supplier.

  • Oil & Gas companies manage risk in energy trading to optimize trading decisions, eliminate multiple sources of conflicting weather data

  • Companies can leverage TWC's always-on advertising solutions to reach new audiences, drive traffic into stores for special offers and acquire private label credit card holders. Using weather, location and cognitive analytics creates new ways to target consumers.

  • Data scientists across industries can acquire data for better modeling, integrate highly localized weather with historic customer data and to easily combine data science with visualization tools available from other IBM brands. This is where weather data meets SPSS modeler, Cognos BI, Predictive Asset Maintenance and other add-ons to Maximo that IBM specializes in

  • Site managers, meteorologists, rig workers and other control-room environments can tie in weather-based alerts to a call-for-action: alerting crews and positioning them in advance of pending storm to reduce the cost of recovery.

  • One national carrier int he US is using weather data such as volcanic ash and high-icing water content or minimum equipment lists to empower confidence in the selection of cost and time efficient routing. This forecast and the accompanying insights help the carrier understand the impact on operating conditions such as runway configuration, congestion and taxi times, which in turn helps optimize fuel planning.

  • Route planning is critical to many travel & transportation companies. E.g. Logistics centers can analyze historical weather, traffic and incident data in 15-minute increments to determine relationships by geography. This insight can be used to predict traffic speeds and congestion into the future to deliver better recommendations for drivers

  • How about a Waze for aircrafts?

Who knew weather data could be so exciting?

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