The Practicality Behind IBM's Weather Company Acquisition


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At the end of January, IBM closed on its acquisition of The Weather Company, the massive weather analytics and information company.

The vast amount of data The Weather Company connects fits into IBM’s ramped-up data analytics portfolio in theory, but there already have been real-world cases in which the acquisition has proved its value for IBM customers and partners.

IBM Chief Data Officer Andy Thurai laid out one case in which the data insights from severe weather conditions saved a car insurance company and car owners massive amounts of money because IBM was able to notify them as severe hail was about to stirke. Many people were able to move their cars to shelter.

“We sent probably a couple million text alerts to people saying, ‘There’s going to be a hail storm in your area, move your cars.’ And I’m telling you, about 70 [percent] to 80 percent of people responded, moved their cars somewhere where the hail [couldn't] get, like a garage or parking lot inside,” Thurai said.

Thurai estimated that the insurance company saved about $40 million to $50 million just through that incident of text alerts. It rewarded those who moved their cars with $100 checks.

“Everybody wins in that situation,” said Thurai.

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