Posted 11/6/2015 10:01:51 AM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor
Its all blue skies for the folks at the Weather Channel as IBM has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire The Weather Company’s B2B, mobile and cloud-based web properties, including WSI, weather.com, Weather Underground and The Weather Company brand. The Weather Channel is not part of the agreement, but the TV channel will license weather forecast data and analytics from IBM under a long-term contract.
Why would IBM make the deal? IBM says that the combination of technology and expertise from the two companies will serve as the foundation for the new Watson IoT Unit and Watson IoT Cloud platform. Here is how, according to the press release on the acquisition:
The planned acquisition would bring together IBM’s powerful cognitive and analytics platform and The Weather Company’s dynamic cloud data platform, which powers the fourth most-used mobile app daily in the United States and handles 26 billion inquiries to its cloud-based services each day. The deal would extend the reach of IBM’s cloud data services capabilities and expand The Weather Company’s business capabilities and consumer reach on a global scale. The Weather Company’s cloud-based data platform will allow IBM to collect an even larger variety and higher velocity of global data sets, store them, analyze them and in turn distribute them and empower richer and deeper insights across the Watson platform.
Ok, I get it, but it just feels kinda weird for IBM to need the technical expertise of what is basically a media company to evolve its IoT business. But maybe it’s not so strange when you consider that AWS is the dominant cloud hosting company today. AWS exists because Amazon had done all that infrastructure work for its Amazon e-commerce platform. So if an online retailer can pioneer cloud computing infrastructure services then why couldn’t the Weather Company have technical infrastructure expertise that is worth spinning out into the wild and woolly world that is the IoT?
Here is what IBM is getting according the announcement:
Upon closing, IBM will acquire The Weather Company product and technology assets that include 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. The company’s sophisticated models analyze data from three billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per day, allowing it to offer a broad range of data-driven products and services to more than 5000 clients in the media, aviation, energy, insurance and government industries.
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. The Weather Company’s platform can ingest a wide range of data at massive speed and scale, supporting an incredible volume of queries at very low latency. 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.
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