IBM is acquiring The Weather Company's B2B, mobile and cloud-based businesses in an effort to marry predictive analytics and a highly unpredictable, yet impactful element: the weather.
IBM will buy WSI, Weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. The TV segment—The Weather Channel—is not included in the deal, but will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.
In March, IBM invested $3 billion in a partnership with Weather, but financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Big Blue believes that The Weather Company is the perfect mate for Watson, the cognitive and analytics platform that marries machine learning and predictive analytics. The acquisition will combine two of the world's largest data clouds—IBM's cognitive and analytics business with Weather—and gives IBM a strong mobile pretense with end users. Weather has the fourth most visited mobile app in the U.S. with 26 billion inquiries a day, according to the company.
Watson will be able to tap into Weather's massive data sets that analyze data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, over 40 million mobile phones, and 50,000 flights per day.
Upon closing, IBM will acquire The Weather Company product and technology assets, including the world's leading meteorological data science experts, precision forecasting capabilities, and a high-volume cloud platform that ingests, processes, analyzes and distributes enormous data sets at scale in real time.
Weather already analyzes data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones, and 50,000 airplane flights per day. The mobile and web properties handle seven times the volume of the world's leading search engine, according to IBM, and its platform can ingest a range of data at speed and scale.
IBM plans to advance The Weather Company's digital advertising platform and skills, which have driven effective monetization of weather information through data-driven advertising, to build additional ad-sponsored consumer and business solutions.
"We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics," said David Kenny, CEO of The Weather Company. "Upon closing of this deal, The Weather Company will continue to be able to help improve the precision of weather forecasts, and further deepen IBM's Watson IoT capabilities, by enabling the integration of global atmosphere and weather insights with enterprise information to create disruptive industry solutions that optimize decision-making."
Weather—the elements, not the company—affects just about every aspect of a retailer's business, from logistics and transportation to quarterly sales. The ability to deliver more precise weather-related information to retailers should yield more accurate information and deeper insights.
-See this IBM announcement
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