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IBM buys tech and assets from The Weather Company

IBM will use The Weather Company's wealth of data to help its businesses with decision making

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 28, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/40fc

For most us the weather means little more than what we have to wear in the morning, or maybe how long it will take us to get to work. For businesses, though, weather can mean a lot of money.

When goods should be shipped, for example, or when planes should fly, how much insurance companies should charge, there are a myriad of use cases where insight into the weather is serious business.

Now businesses will have access to those insights as IBM announced on Wednesday that it is buying technology and products from The Weather Company That includes The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand.

While no financial terms of the deal were disclosed, a report in The Wall Street Journal has pegged the value of the deal at $2 billion.

With these assets, IBM plans to combine it with its cognitive and analytics platform, specifically with Watson, its artificial intelligence platform, which will be able take all of The Weather Company's data  then "analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform."

The combination of the two companies will serve as the foundation for the new Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform, which will use The Weather Company's atmosphere and weather insights and combine it with enterprise information to help optimize decision-making.

The Weather Company cloud data platform certainly does seem to collect a lot of data, which is definitely what got IBM interested.

It handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services every day. It also analyzes data from three billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per day. Plus The Weather Company’s mobile and web properties handle seven times the volume of the world’s leading search engine, while serving 82 million unique monthly visitors. So Watson will certainly a lot of data to process, and IBM will have plenty of insights that it can then use to help its clients.

There is one asset of The Weather Company's that IBM is not buying: its TV segment, The Weather Channel. Despite not being a part of IBM, though, the Weather Channel will still license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract. 

"The Weather Channel will be run as an independent business under the current owners of Bain Capital, Blackstone and NBCUniversal. The board has great confidence in the management team in continuing to operate the television business," Shirley Powell, chief communications officer for the Weather Company, told VatorNews.

The two companies are far from strangers. Earlier this year they formed a strategic alliance in order to integrate real-time weather insights into business to improve operational performance and decision-making.

Through the alliance, IBM licensed The Weather Company’s cloud data platform and collaborated with The Weather Company’s B2B division to deliver joint industry solutions, data services packages and APIs that enable businesses and developers to integrate real-time weather insights into business

The Weather Company had also announced plans to shift the massive weather data services platform that powers its B2B division to the IBM Cloud.

VatorNews has reached out to IBM for further comment on the deal. We will update this story if we learn more.

(Image source: vine.co)