IBM has designed a weather predication system that can be tied into a company’s operational data to help optimise business outcomes that are impact by poor weather conditions.
Developed by IBM, Weather Signals uses AI-based analytics to help organisations measure the potential impact that fluctuating weather conditions can have on its day to day business operations. While this type of insight is vitally important for the agricultural sector IBM are expanding the service to all types of industry.
Using Watson-based AI big blue will take a company’s data and use that to create a visualised model to help predicated the impact upcoming weather conditions will have on business outcomes.
IBM anticipates the service will be useful for the retail and tourist sectors, in particular tourist attraction planners who can set out in advanced what the daily pricing and staffing needs are using an in-depth contextual analysis of local weather systems. The system could also be used in the planning of city transportation systems, which can move to meet surges in demand brought on by poor weather conditions.
The data input into the model supplied by companies can include an array of data sets such as sales, concession inventory statistics, promotional, attendance and location, traffic numbers, service calls, on-time arrivals as well as insurance claims.
IBM state that they: “Then combine your numbers with our historical weather and/or footfall data sets. Our scientists highlight the relevant weather impacts on your business using the proprietary Weather Signals models, and within 3-4 weeks, you will receive an overview of our key findings, anomalies, correlations, causations, and the output of thresholds.”
The Weather Signals data model is delivered to an organisation in the form of written overviews in conjunction with tabular outputs consisting of business anomalies and correlations. To help further breakdown and digest the information companies can use the output data with analytical platforms such as Tableau. This will help to visualise the data in an intuitive dashboard.
Kristen Lauria, General Manager of Watson Media and Weather commented in a release that: “Companies instinctively know that weather impacts their businesses, but most rely on historical weather norms to make assumptions about the future.”
“Weather Signals provides powerful insight into the correlation between real-time changes in weather and corresponding changes in local business performance — even months in advance. That insight can potentially add millions to a company’s bottom line.”
IBM Weather Signals and Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System
At the beginning of this year IBM introduce Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (GRAF), a new weather forecasting system developed by IBM which was the first to utilise data collected from atmospheric sensors on aircraft, enabling a higher degree of forecast accuracy in regions of the global that don’t have specialised weather instruments.
IBM’s GRAF system aims to provide 3 kilometre resolution forecasts that are updated on an hourly basis.
Cameron Clayton, GM of Watson Media and Weather for IBM commented at the time that: “Weather influences what people do day-to-day and is arguably the most important external swing factor in business performance. As extreme weather becomes more common, our new weather system will ensure every person and organization around the world has access to more accurate, more finely-tuned weather forecasts.”
To crunch all the data gather by atmospheric sensors on planes and smartphones, as well as The Weather Company’s existing datasets, The Weather Company uses IBM’s POWER9 high performance computing hardware.
POWER9 is a 14nm manufactured symmetric multiprocessor custom made for use on intensive data workloads. The system has the computational power to process 10 terabytes of weather data daily providing highly accurate localised weather predictions.
POWER9 hardware is currently used by the world’s most powerful supercomputers Summit and Sierra, built by the U.S. Department of Energy.
IBM bought The Weather Company in 2016, taking over all of its assets with the exception of The Weather Channel, who still receives weather forecast data via a long-term licensing agreement with IBM. IBM does have usage right of The Weather Channel branding.