IBM's Watson Weather Insights Could Mean Better Business

As noted by IBM, weather patterns in 2014 cost businesses more than $500 billion.

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IBM has big plans brewing for Watson, the supercomputer that analyzes and draws insights from huge amounts of unstructured data.

The latest data to be scrutinized by Watson’s artificial intelligence will be weather data, provided by its recent acquisition of The Weather Channel’s digital assets. That includes WSI — which provides business-oriented weather data —, Weather Underground and The Weather Company.

Watson will, as part of a long-term contract, share its analytics with the TV segment, The Weather Channel, for improved forecasting and analytics.

But the real focus of Watson’s work will be mining that data — building on IBM’s commitment to build up its Watson IoT Unit and the Watson IoT Cloud platform — to provide businesses with the information they need to do business better.

As noted by IBM, weather patterns in 2014 cost businesses more than $500 billion — a number it hopes to bring down.

The Weather Company’s existing cloud data platform sees 26 billion inquiries each day, incorporates data from 3 billion forecast points and, on 40 million mobile phones, is the fourth most-used app in the U.S.

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“The Weather Company’s extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM’s global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things,” said John Kelly, senior vice president with IBM’s solutions and research. The process “will position IBM to arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights that will help enterprises gain clarity and take action from the oceans of data.”

Eventually, those insights will be boiled down by industry and available on the cloud.

Predictions could cover retail traffic, including how many employees to schedule and how much inventory to order. Or providing insurance companies or utilities with potential upcoming liabilities or outages. The insights could even benefit manufacturers of consumer products, by potentially predicting what people will be looking to buy.

How could Watson’s weather information benefit your industry? Comment below or tweet @MNetKatie.