Could Watson Have Predicted IBM’s Weather Company Acquisition?

IBM’s predictive capabilities grew a notch recently with announced plans to acquire several pieces of The Weather Company’s digital and data assets.

Its aggressive appetite for big data has driven the legacy computer company to not only dig deep into its Twitter wells and its hundreds of previously extracted open data sources, but to explore its recently obtained weather data.

Building a solid foundation for IBM’s Internet of Things (IoT), its cognitive computing efforts, and its desire to generally enhance its cloud services means growing its data repositories and giving its clientele what they want; predictive insights. 

“IBM’s cognitive computing platform, integrated with the world’s most-used and precise weather platform, will help businesses and governments everywhere make the best possible weather-related decisions,” said David Kenny, Chairman and CEO, The Weather Company.

Core redesign

Retailers for example, should, in a perfect world, be able to increase profitability and provide a better experience for their customers if they understood how changes in weather might affect mood, buying patterns, and other human activities. This, alongside the massive amounts of raw data being collected by Twitter and other open data sources, is really the main driver behind IBM’s latest redesign of more than 15 of the company’s core analytics and commerce solutions.

“This is all much bigger than just IBM and we recognize that. What is important here is really facilitating the level of activity that is very much about what we do with the power of innovation with partners and with other business experts,” says Bob Picciano, Senior Vice President, Information & Analytics Group at IBM.

BI for Retailers

Buffalo Jeans has been using IBM technology to gain insights into their business for over eight years and was one of the many clients attending the IBM Insight conference in Las Vegas. The goal, at least for Buffalo at this conference, has been to discover new ways to help personalize the shopping experience for their customers and for future patrons.  However, with only two physical locations left in Canada, Buffalo is now focusing primarily on their wholesale and ecommerce businesses, which as a result, has increased the complexity with respect to analytical insights.

“One of the themes that I’m seeing this year is getting personalized information on consumers through to different channels that are out there – so the unstructured data, what’s happening in social media, and what’s happening with direct feedback from consumers,” says Stephen White, IT Director, Buffalo Jeans.

As a wholesaler, Buffalo, much like other companies, are best served, if they are able to bring insights and data to the department stores they work with that can help them understand what they predict for their future sales as much as what they have seen from their customers in the past.

“We need to predict trends and patterns as well as the types of promotions we may want to run in the future. These tools are a necessity now which is why you need to have fast and affective tools to analyze your business,” says White.