One of the least-told business stories of the past decade is the transformation of The Weather Company, the Weather Channel’s parent company, from a cable television station into one of the world’s largest marketers of climate data. Now, The Weather Company is doing something that’s a long way from weather updates on cable television: emergency management software for cities.
On Monday, IBM announced a partnership with The Weather Company to create a new emergency management product designed for use during disasters. Called the Intelligent Operations Center, the product pulls up historical and sensor data and then uses “deep analytics, data visualization, and real-time collaboration to help agencies coordinate and manage response efforts.” Natural disasters claimed 7,700 lives across the world last year, running up a bill of $110 billion.
“We can take information that’s near real time, including sensor feeds,” Bob Griffin, IBM’s vice president of industry solutions, said in a video interview. “From there, we can take that information and make predictable kinds of decisions, and more importantly improve situational awareness so [cities] can very quickly turn awareness into action.” The program is intended to help cities quickly figure out how to respond to weather-related disasters like hurricanes or snowstorms, and to then implement the scenarios based on incoming sensor feeds. IBM and The Weather Company entered into a business relationship earlier in 2015.
IBM has also been aggressively seeking government contracts as local governments migrate over to cloud computing. The company also announced plans to build one of the world’s largest cloud databases of law enforcement data today.