IBM leverages cloud power in deal for Weather Company
IBM is bringing its "cloud" computing power to a deal with The Weather Company.
Under the agreement announced Wednesday, IBM will acquire the product and technology operations of the group, which operates the weather.com website and mobile application, among others.
The deal allows IBM to use its Watson supercomputer to collect and analyze weather data for the weather.com websites and mobile app, which handles 26 billion inquiries each day.
The deal excludes the Weather Channel television station, but will allow the channel to use the analytics and forecasts under license.
Terms were not announced, but the Wall Street Journal said the deal could be worth more than $2 billion.
In a statement, IBM said that the combination will serve as the foundation for the new Watson unit, building on a $3 billion commitment made by IBM in March 2015 to invest in the Internet of Things.
"The Weather Company's extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM's global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things, providing our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real time," said John Kelly, an IBM senior vice president.
"This powerful cloud platform will position IBM to arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights that will help enterprises gain clarity and take action from the oceans of data being generated around them."
IBM said the insights derived from data can be useful to many industries: it noted that predictive weather analytics coupled with real-time analysis of social media and other related data can help retailers and distributors maintain availability of vital goods in times of need.
Airlines can use the data to save fuel costs by using multiple real-time and historical data during disruptive conditions, IBM noted.
"We see the next wave of improved forecasting coming from the intersection of atmospheric science, computer science and analytics," said David Kenny, chairman and chief executive of The Weather Company.
The Weather Company has been owned since 2008 by Comcast unit NBCUniversal along with equity firms Bain Capital and Blackstone.
© 2015 AFP