IBM partner with Weather Company to bring real-time weather insights to business
IBM and The Weather Company through WSI, its global B2B division, today announced a groundbreaking global strategic alliance to integrate real-time weather insights into business to improve operational performance and decision-making. As part of the alliance, The Weather Company, including WSI will shift its massive weather data services platform to the IBM Cloud and integrate its data with IBM analytics and cloud services.
Weather is perhaps the single largest external swing factor in business performance – responsible for an annual economic impact of nearly half a trillion dollars in the U.S. alone1. While weather prediction is increasingly precise and granular, business systems generally assume every day is the same. As a result, knowledge of impending extreme weather disruptions – or even routine disruptions that drive well understood behaviors and systemic reactions – don’t always trigger operational responses. Combining weather data with traditional business data and rich data from an unprecedented number of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled systems and devices will fundamentally transform enterprise decision-making.
The IoT and cloud computing allow for collection of data from more than 100,000 weather sensors and aircraft, millions of smartphones, buildings and even moving vehicles. WSI’s forecasting system ingests and processes data from thousands of sources, resulting in approximately 2.2 billion unique forecast points worldwide, and averages more than 10 billion forecasts a day on active weather days.
By migrating its weather data platform to IBM Cloud, WSI will be able to accelerate the growth of one of the largest cloud-based applications in the world. Partnering with IBM also will enable enterprise clients and industry ecosystems to more easily integrate WSI weather data – including rapidly updated forecasts – into their operations and decision-making. Once integrated with enterprise processes, weather data can be combined with data from supply chains, customer buying patterns and other sources to create more valuable insights.
IBM and WSI will deliver new cloud services to businesses in three key ways:
- Watson Analytics for Weather: IBM and WSI will enable easy integration of historical and real-time weather data in business operations and decision making with IBM analytics platforms such as Watson Analytics. The companies will jointly develop industry solutions for insurance, energy & utilities, retail and logistics among others.
- Cloud and Mobile App Developer Tools: Entrepreneurs and software developers will be able to rapidly build mobile and web apps that take advantage of WSI data combined with data from operational systems, connected devices and sensors using advanced analytics through Bluemix, IBM’s cloud application development platform.
- Business and Operational Weather Expertise: Thousands of consultants from across IBM Global Business Services will be trained to combine WSI data with other sources to more effectively interpret industry pain points, providing clients new insights that solve business problems.
By combining IBM’s cloud computing, industry consulting and analytics expertise with WSI’s precision weather data and forecasts, the two companies can now enable entire industries to utilize understanding of weather on business outcomes and take action at a local level. For example:
- Insurers pay more than $1 billion in claims every year for vehicles damaged by hail. WSI’s Weather Alert service, together with IBM Analytics, enables insurance providers to send policyholders text messages that alert them to impending hailstorms and safe locations so vehicles can be moved before damage occurs. These insights have the potential to save insurers up to $25 per policyholder per year in hail-prone areas, or millions of dollars annually.
- Each winter, retailers in snowy areas see patterns in which storm forecasts drive spikes in sales of groceries, shovels, sand, salt and cold-weather gear. Yet those same weather events typically hamper retail sales as consumers stay inside. But differences can be profound – during the January 2014 polar vortex, areas with greater than 10°F drops in temperature saw sales fall 15.5 percent while areas with a less than 10°F drop saw sales fall only 2.9 percent. The ability to better understand and predict the impact of such weather events allows retailers to adjust staffing and supply chain strategies as needed – regionally and nationwide.
- Utility companies feel the impact of an increase in temperature and relative humidity – even just a few degrees – dramatically in air conditioning use and power consumption. The difference between 90 and 95 degrees in Texas, for example, can equate to $24 million more in electricity spending per day. With IBM and WSI, utilities will be able to more accurately predict power consumption so they can avoid overproducing power, reduce service interruptions and better serve customers.
“This deal combines the capabilities of the world’s largest and most advanced commercial weather company with the leader in big data and analytics. Together, we’ll help businesses and governments transform their decisions and operations around weather fluctuation at a scale that hasn’t been possible until now.” said David Kenny, chairman and CEO of The Weather Company. “This is a watershed moment for businesses that have long been impacted by weather but haven’t had the rich data or enhanced decision-making ability to drive positive business outcomes. The combination of our new high-resolution forecasting capabilities with IBM analytics opens up a world of possibilities for the enterprise.”
The partnership builds upon IBM’s investment of $3 billion over the next four years in an Internet of Things (IoT) unit to develop a portfolio of cloud services, software and related intellectual property.
“There’s an opportunity to inform all business operations and decision-making with real-time actionable insight delivered securely via the cloud and extracted from all this data collected from sensors all over the planet,” said Bob Picciano, senior Vice President, IBM Analytics. “The Weather Company and IBM partnership can be a catalyst to making critical business systems even smarter.”
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EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”