IBM's supercomputer, Watson, has been known for taking on various roles, such as a Jeopardy contestant and culinary chef, and now, the A.I. will take on another job, this time as weather man.
IBM announced on Wednesday it has decided to acquire The Weather Company brand, as well as its digital operations and assets, which include Weather.com, Weather Underground and Weather Services International.
The actual Weather Channel television network is not part of the acquisition and will remain under the ownership of NBCUniversal and private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. Instead, the Weather Co. will now move its weather data and technology to IBM's cloud and integrate the tech with IBM's Watson's AI service and license the data from the company under a long-term contract.
Details about the deal, which is worth over $2 billion, were not disclosed.
"The Weather Company's extremely high-volume data platform, coupled with IBM's global cloud and the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of Watson, will be unsurpassed in the Internet of Things, providing our clients significant competitive advantage as they link their business and sensor data with weather and other pertinent information in real time," John Kelly, Senior VP of IBM Solutions Portfolio and Research, said in a statement. "This powerful cloud platform will position IBM to arm entire industries with deep multimodal insights that will help enterprises gain clarity and take action from the oceans of data being generated around them."
The acquisition only adds to IBM's initiative to grow its "Internet of Things," as the company also purchased Merge Healthcare for $1 billion this year to add medical imaging technology to its Watson's Health Cloud. The company also has plans to invest $3 billion into the space sector over the next four years.
Weather Company CEO David Kenny stated that he sees an improvement in forecasting in a number of areas, including atmospheric science, analytics and computer science. He believes that his company will greatly improve the accuracy of weather forecasting in completing the deal with IBM Watson's Internet of Things abilities.
Since the weather data is also licensed to other businesses, such as airline and insurance companies, the acquisition will allow IBM to help businesses that are impacted by bad weather (such as when shipping packages or delaying flights) run more efficiently.