In October of this past Fall, the International Business Machines Company (IBM) released a statement claiming they had made a strategic business purchase of The Weather Company’s digital assets in an attempt to increase their “big data” sector of the company. While IBM and The Weather Company may seem like an unusual pair, IBM claims TWC’s cloud-based web properties, such as Weather.com and Weather Underground, will provide the company with critical data they can use as a complement to their powerful analytics platform.
In 2015, TWC’s mobile app averaged twenty-six billion inquiries per day to its cloud based services. This large weather data intake is exactly what IBM is searching for in order to further advance analytical strategies for their clients, “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”. Although IBM’s article makes their strategy behind the purchase sound complex, it boils down to one simple notion: more data, more business. In addition to the acquisition of TWC’s cloud-based system, IBM will have access to the world’s leading meteorological experts as well as precision forecasting capabilities which IBM believes TWC has revolutionized, “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”. This purchase by IBM comes only a few months after they vowed to invest three billion dollars in their new Watson Internet of Things. While the article does no dive into detail about Watson IoT, it mentions that the new weather analyzing capabilities will increase Watson’s cognitive computing power making the system even more appealing to current and potential clients.
While IBM’s statement provided in-depth information on their purchase (with the exception of what they paid), it refused to mention when these weather analytics will be available to its clients. Additionally, the article overlooked specific information on how the “big data” on weather will be of help to IBM’s customers. While some uses for the weather data are obvious, such as increased transportation efficiency, other implementations for the data as well as where it fits in their plan for the multibillion dollar Watson IoT project remained unmentioned. These may be just a few of the reasons for IBM’s stock decline which began in early October. Although IBM is promising big things to come, they’ll need to convince the public before it’s too late.
"IBM Plans to Acquire Weather Company Product and Tech Biz." IBM News Room. 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/47952.wss>.