November 16, 2016 | Written by: Franklin Morris
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Weather has long been a source of headaches for businesses across all industries.
Extreme conditions can cause power outages and supply shortages, leading to production delays. Changing resource availability, due to a blizzard or hurricane, will often raise operating costs. Severe storms shut down facilities, interrupt communications, transportation and power systems. And let’s not forget insurance prices, which can rise or may even be unavailable in flood-prone or coastal areas.
These instances may seem like outliers, but the impacts are felt widely by organizations everywhere. In the U.S. alone, it has a $500B impact on the economy. Insurers pay more than $1B per year in claims related to hail-damaged vehicles according to the Insurance Information Institute.
With advances like the Internet of Things (IoT), organizations are looking to understand the impact of weather on their operations, to anticipate difficult conditions sooner and more precisely, and to take action to optimize those parts of their businesses most likely to be impacted.
They’ll never control the weather, but by combining this data, IoT sensor data and cutting-edge analytics, organizations are finding they can control how it impacts their business.
Here are a few key industries that are transforming as a result of the integration of weather data into the Internet of Things:
The climate inside and outside a manufacturing facility can have an invisible but critical impact on the finished product. Small variations in temperature and humidity can change the way industrial glues adhere, for example, directly affecting product quality.
Weather-related insights for manufacturing
And this is a critical factor in the asset health of equipment, aging and changing asset conditions at different rates. A machine, for example designed to operate in 80 degree temperature will have a different lifecycle if it operates in significantly hotter or colder climates. IoT sensor data, combined with weather data can give businesses a more accurate view of the health of their critical business assets, so they can better optimize their maintenance efforts and better predict when assets will fail, helping reduce downtime.
Buildings consume almost half of all electricity in the U.S., and weather has an enormous impact on the energy draw of a building. When an increase of 5 degrees can result in a $20+ million spike in energy spending, few types of data have a greater impact on buildings and energy than weather.
Weather-related insights for building management
Incorporating real-time data and IoT sensor data into facilities management lets businesses proactively determine how weather will impact their business. Understanding forecasts, for example, can help buildings managers predict fluctuating energy costs.
Proactively adjusting and preparing for hot and cold fronts can mitigate the impact they will have on energy usage.
Global trends are putting new pressures on food systems. Demand for agricultural products is increasing, while natural resources are dwindling, and volatility is rising in commodity and energy prices. Thankfully new data sources and IoT technology are fueling a transformation in agribusiness.
Weather-related insights for agriculture
Applying historical data to farm equipment is enabling more accurate maintenance practices, by allowing maintenance based on actual machine condition instead of only at manufacturer-recommended time intervals.
Weather data, alongside plant and soil monitoring, is helping increase crop yield despite limited resources. And incorporating real-time data into supply chain planning is helping in the process of transporting perishable crops across the country, where hot- or cold-fronts can easily ruin the product.
Energy and utilities
Today, 78% of electric grid disruptions are due to severe weather. Being able to incorporate IoT data will allow energy and utilities companies to better safeguard critical infrastructure, and protect their field workers in the case of severe climate events.
Weather-related insights for energy and utilities
Advanced analytics working with real-time and asset data can help predict outages and equipment performance, and let businesses initiate steps to shutdown key equipment to avoid damage in the wake of extreme conditions.
Cars today are essentially computers on wheels. Vehicles are outfitted with countless connected devices, constantly gathering data about driving behavior and component condition. By transmitting that data, and using advanced analytics to examine it alongside roadway and real-time weather data, a more complete picture begins to emerge of how weather conditions are impacting driver behavior and safety in different scenarios.
Weather-related insights for the Automotive industry
Combining this data into IoT will allow real-time alerts that might impact driver safety to be pushed directly to drivers who are on the road, helping them avoid areas with high water or roads closed due to extreme conditions.
Making better decisions with weather data
IBM recently acquired The Weather Company, the most accurate source of weather data available. By combining precise data and IoT technology, we are enabling organizations across all industries to make better business decisions.
Visit our website to learn how IBM Watson IoT for Asset Management can help you transform your maintenance and asset management practices using IoT data, weather data and powerful, cognitive analytics.