Some people might have scratched their heads upon hearing plans for tech giant IBM Corp. to acquire The Weather Company. In fact, there are many ways the weather affects IBM’s clients. Golf clubs and air traffic control are two obvious industries that rely on early knowledge of temperature and precipitation levels, but contextualizing weather patterns can help predict unlikely trends, such as when shoppers are more likely to buy yogurt.
“IBM bought us because weather impacts every business, we supply a great forecast, and we run completely on the cloud. We also have data platform that we’re now commercializing,” said Mary Glackin, SVP of Science and Forecast Operations at The Weather Co., an IBM Business.
Weather + Watson
Machine learning is having an impact as well. Glackin is excited to see how IBM Watson will evaluate past data and what patterns it will find. The Weather Co. is gathering information from organizations around the world, and with the machine learning algorithm they are able to achieve the most accurate forecasts to date, including being right about the temperature within one degree 80 percent of the time, Glackin said.
It also allows The Weather Co. to understand the bias in real time, and if a specific system isn’t tracking a storm well, the machine learns and shifts the data accordingly.
Climate change is another issue bound to affect various industries.
“Any business that’s assuming the last 10 years is going to be the same in the next 10 is making a mistake. Businesses and communities are asking the question, ‘How often am I going to see these once-every-50-years disasters? And the answer is: More frequently,” said Glackin, who has personally experienced standing on the Greenland ice sheet and observed how rapidly it’s changing.
Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM World of Watson 2016.
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