IBM is investing $3 billion to build an “Internet of Things” division aimed at harnessing the massive trove of data collected by smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances and using it to help companies better manage their businesses. And a big part of the launch is factoring in how weather might affect your business today.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) estimates that 90 percent of all data generated by mobile and “smart” devices is never analyzed.
Now, Big Blue says it hopes to change this by teaming up with companies like Twitter and the Weather Co., the owner of the Weather Channel, and developing cloud-based data services and tools for app developers. IBM will be utilizing its Watson supercomputing service to power the analytics behind the project. Just over a year ago, IBM said it was investing $1 billtion to launch a Watson-focused analytics unit, which is now based in New York.
Glenn Finch, Big Data and Analytics Lead at IBM Global Business Services says IBM is training more than 2,000 consultants, researchers and developers to help businesses come up with new ways to use the vast amounts of data that are now available. This could mean combining Twitter data with economic and weather data to predict what someone might be interested in buying.
IBM and The Weather Company on Tuesday announced what the firms call “a groundbreaking global strategic alliance.” Together they plan to “integrate real-time weather insights into business to improve operational performance and decision-making.” (Watch a video about the partnership at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWMWyQzlQ-k
For example, insurance providers could send policyholders text messages alerting them to impending hailstorms and vehicles could be moved before being damaged, for instance. It could also help determine exactly how many people were hit by a natural disaster so insurers could respond to claims faster.
As part of the deal, The Weather Company is moving its weather data services platform to the IBM Cloud and will integrate its data with IBM analytics and cloud services.
The new business unit is part of IBM’s shift away from hardware toward spending billions to focus on analytics, cloud computing, mobile services and security.
Key services to be offered through the new Weather Channel partnership include:
- 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.
IBM plans to launch an online service that helps insurance companies extract insight from connected vehicles, to create new pricing and services customized to individual drivers.
“Most people, most businesses, most governments wait for weather to happen to them and react to it rather than anticipate what it will do to them,” said Mark Gildersleeve, president of the Weather Co.’s WSI division. The IBM partnership “aims to help governments and businesses essentially serve their end users better by making decisions earlier,” he said.
IBM employs several thousand people in Research Triangle Park.