How can weather data be strategic? 3 sector examples
Sure, we can imagine why a shipping company needs weather data to help optimize their routes; why farmers need to know when it will be raining; or why event planners want to plan outdoor festivals when the weather is good. But did you know that there are many more businesses that rely on weather forecasting when making decisions? In fact, we believe every sector (either consciously or unconsciously) is affected by the weather.
In this article, we’ll discuss three unexpected examples of businesses that found a way to competitive advantage - by merely utilizing weather data.
Insurance companies tend to get overloaded with phone calls during hail, thunderstorms, and heavy rainfall. Not surprising, as these conditions can cause trees to go down, cars to get smashed and cellars to flood. Often, insurance companies don’t have the capacity to manage all the claims on the same day. As a result, severe weather conditions create longer waiting times and, therefore, frustrated and disgruntled customers.
This situation is why more and more insurance companies turn to meteorologists to provide them with highly accurate weather forecasts. It means that in times of severe weather conditions, more employees are called in to help manage the incoming claims. It might sound simple, but it’s what makes the difference between a happy and an unhappy customer.
The weather outside has a significant impact on the energy consumption of households and businesses. But when energy demand is too high, this creates congestion in the power lines, potentially leading to power outages.
But it's not just demand that can overburden the power lines; the weather also has an impact. In hot, sunny conditions, where there isn't much wind, it can cause the power lines to sag and hit roads or animals.
TSOs (Transmission System Operators) deal with energy distribution and are responsible for secure energy transmission - quite the task. In both the Netherlands and the UK, TSOs have incorporated accurate weather forecasts in their calculations on grid capacity, which has been really beneficial for managing capacity.
We already have the smartphone and the smartwatch, but the visionaries of this world dared to dream bigger and created the smart car. New models of BMW, Daimler, and Audi (and Teslas of course) all know more than the average person, (well, at least when it comes to traffic jams and braking distance anyway).
The data “knowledge” of these cars is beneficial to their drivers, as they are updated continuously on traffic situations and the state of the roads. Many car manufacturers have found a way for their cars to gather weather data on-the-go, so they’ve actually built thousands of driving weather stations. The weather data allows the car software to calculate the braking distance and warns drivers about conditions, for instance when it is icy.
At the same time, all of these smart cars forward their data to the central computer, providing the car manufacturers with hyper-local information on weather conditions and their impact on driving behavior. They then use this information to build better cars and to keep on updating drivers on what to do in which situation. Brilliant!
How they do it?
There’s one thing that separates weather-driven businesses from the rest: they value highly accurate weather information and dare to invest in weather data. They all use sensors, IoT, weather stations, meteorological expertise, forecasting systems, and calculation models, so they’re prepared for what’s coming. It’s smart. Today, so many factors can be controlled; but not the weather. When you know about the impact of all of these factors, you possess valuable information that your competitors don’t, meaning you’re one step ahead. Or maybe even two.
Want to know how you can become a weather-driven business and a forerunner in your sector?
Then download our free ebook on "The Internet of Everything & the Weather: A business success formula" below: