The tool, called IBM Weather Signals, is designed to enable businesses to be able to proactively adjust supply chains to help ensure accurate inventory, staffing, and promotional activities aligned with anticipated changes in local weather conditions. It has applications across a broad range of industries, says the company, and is particularly relevant to industries that are sensitive to changes in daily or seasonal weather conditions such as retail, consumer packaged goods, services, hospitality, entertainment and travel, and transportation.
"Companies instinctively know that weather impacts their businesses, but most rely on historical weather norms to make assumptions about the future," says Kristen Lauria, General Manager of Watson Media and Weather. "Weather Signals provides powerful insight into the correlation between real-time changes in weather and corresponding changes in local business performance - even months in advance. That insight can potentially add millions to a company's bottom line."
IBM Weather Signals uses IBM's Watson AI to merge weather data with a company's operational data to create a model that can predict how anticipated seasonal weather conditions, or even minor fluctuations in temperature, wind chill, or humidity, are anticipated to impact business performance, right down to sales of individual product categories at specific locations, says the company. Integrating this insight into supply chains, companies can then redirect inventory to meet anticipated changes in demand to help increase productivity and reduce waste.
IBM Weather Signals' output can be used with common analytics platforms like Tableau, enabling interactive capabilities to model the correlation between weather and business performance within the context of overall business forecast planning, and within an intuitive dashboard environment, without having to migrate data to a new platform.
IBM also recently announced Weather Decision Platform for Agriculture, which combines AI, hyper-local weather data, and IoT data to give farmers around the world greater insights about planning, plowing, planting, spraying, and harvesting. IBM acquired The Weather Company in 2016 .