Friday, January 29, 2016

IBM's Watson Gets A Real Job: Big Blue Closes Purchase of The Weather Company

Complex-chaotic requires big horsepower to figure out. It'll probably take the quantum machines coming down the pike but this is a start and more worthy of Watson than Jeopardy!
From TechCrunch:

IBM Closes Weather Co. Purchase, Names David Kenny New Head Of Watson Platform
IBM is taking another step to expand its Waston AI business and build its presence in areas like IoT: today the company announced that its acquisition of the Weather Company — the giant weather media and data group — has now officially closed.

IBM is not disclosing the value of the deal: it was originally reported to be in the region of $2 billion, but sources close to IBM tell us this was inaccurate. (For context, the Weather Company was previously acquired in 2008 for $3.5 billion by a consortium that included Bain, Blackstone and NBC Universal.)

As part of the deal, IBM is making some changes: First, the Weather Company’s cloud platform will now run on IBM’s Cloud data centers (recall that it once was a big client of AWS). That platform will now power all of IBM’s wider push into data services and Watson’s Internet of Things business. This will bring a massively bigger amount of data into the mix, covering what IBM describes as billions of IoT sensors.

IBM will also use its weight to scale the Weather Company’s business: the company plans to expand into five more markets including China, India and Brazil “immediately”, as well as integrate it into IBM’s 45 global cloud centers.

IBM is also making an executive change: David Kenny, who had been the CEO of the Weather Company, will take on a newly-created role at IBM running the company’s wider Watson platform business.

The IBM acquisition will include most — but not all — of the Weather Company’s assets: its B2B, mobile and cloud properties;; Weather Underground; The Weather Company brand; and WSI, which houses all the company’s data science and enterprise services will all fold into Big Blue.

The Weather Channel — perhaps the Weather Company’s most mainstream product — is not included. But as part of the sale, under a long-term contract, it will license weather data forecasts and analytics now owned by IBM.

IBM and the Weather Company had already been working together as partners — IBM cut a deal in 2015 to tap into the Weather Company’s network of 100,000 weather sensors to ingest data for its machine-learning-based analytics services. The acquisition will now give IBM ownership of the company’s tech, and help it deliver more services around the weather vertical to current and existing IBM customers....MORE
If I were Monsanto I'd be looking over my shoulder to see if IBM was getting into the big data/insurance/chemicals biz that MON's Climate Corp. acquisition has been working.

See also:
McKinsey: Monetizing Freely Available Data (worth $3.2-$5.4 Trillion per year)
Digital Disruption on the Farm or Where's the Risk In Giving All Your Data to Monsanto?