Bryson Koehler, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at The Weather Channel, shares his perspective on The Weather Channel and the Internet of Everything.
Did you know that the weather affects about 35 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, every day? And, as you might guess, humans make decisions every day that are completely based on the weather. Weather is the most primal decision making factor to everything we do. Just as a person’s demeanor can change if it’s raining or sunny, business decisions and outcomes can change in the same manner. The more information we have about the weather, the smarter we can be. So we, at The Weather Channel, have been utilizing the Internet of Everything to gather and analyze data and assist businesses, cities and everyday consumers like you and me.
The Internet of Everything has changed the game of what our teams at The Weather Channel can do. While our company began as a 24-hour network devoted to weather programming, we have adapted a number of innovations over the years, and today have become a tech-led media company. We’ve grown from providing accurateforecasts for 2.2 million locations, four times an hour, to forecasting 2.8 billion locations, 15 times an hour. With the IoE we have been able to bring weather information to people across the world, giving them the information they need when they most need it.As a CIO, I try to unleash innovation. The more our technology tools can work autonomously of us, the more we can focus on our output and what they can do to impact our everyday lives.
Moving our forecasting platform to the cloud enabled more scalability and flexibility with our computing platform. This not only improved our processes, but it enhanced the data we gather. By embracing the new technology of the Internet of Everything, we have created a system that is unmatched when it comes to closely analyzing atmospheric data. The Weather Channel can now dig deeper and pin point the weather of a specific city, street corner or even a singular home address.
To further improve our data and weather models, we utilize state-of-the-art sensors to evaluate specific weather conditions. For example, phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Apple iPhone 6 have imbedded pressure sensors, as do things like windshield wipers. All of these allow us to analyze storm systems, humidity levels and weather patterns in real time in any given area. Internet of Everything-enabled devices like those sensors allow us to continue to work to keep local residents informed and safe. The faster we can receive and interrupt data about a storm, the quicker we can inform local citizens of impending danger.
It’s not just local residents that we can assist when we spot an incoming storm, either. We can provide insurance companies in advance with information about the storms that will affect their policyholders, so they can send out proactive alerts. Say 50% of the people who receive an alert about an impending hailstorm, for example, will put their cars inside. That can save insurance companies money by limiting the number of payouts and makes policyholders happier with their choice of insurance company.
From hailstorms to sunny days, we can simultaneously improve businesses’ understanding of their customers’ behavior. Businesses that use weather trends can better predict spending patterns for their specific area. For example, we know that 34 degrees in Miami is an entirely different beer sales weekend than 34 degrees in Chicago. What drives a company’s product consumption? It could be humidity. It could be wind. It could be cloud coverage. Through the data we are collecting, we can provide businesses with the insights they need to understand how weather is driving consumer behaviors, both in real time and ahead of time.
At the end of the day, innovation requires risk. At The Weather Company, we have taken those risks and evolved from a cable network into a technology-led media company. Using Cisco’s technology and the Internet of Everything, the data we can collect lets us deliver so much more than a basic weather forecast.
How does the weather impact your business? How can the Internet of Everything help? Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #InternetOfEverything.
Maciej Kranz, VP and GM of Cisco’s Corporate Technology Group, shares his perspective on Dundee Precious Metals and the Internet of Everything
I’ve traveled a great deal around the globe in the last year and am amazed at the interesting things organizations are doing with technology to connect the unconnected. As we enter the next big phase of the Internet – the Internet of Everything (IoE) – no industry can afford to be left behind. Even the industries that existed long before the Internet was even a glimmer on the horizon, such as manufacturing and mining, can realize great value through IoE. Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) is one example. They’re a manufacturing company that has capitalized on the connections between the people, process, data and things that IoE is enabling, transforming one of the world’s most traditional industries in the process.
When DPM set a goal to increase production of their flagship mining operation by 30 percent, their IT team needed to find a way to reach the target without increasing manpower or the number of vehicles.
With the help of the connections from IoE, now Dundee can share important information in real time, such as miners’ locations, equipment updates and data such as the number of buckets filled. This lets their teams troubleshoot as they go, instead of just at the end of a shift, keeping crews better on track to meet daily goals. What’s more, miners and mine managers had limited communication options since their Wi-Fi didn’t function well underground. So they leveraged Cisco’s unified wireless network to provide coverage along 50 kilometers of tunnels. This let drivers, supervisors and managers communicate efficiently – above ground or below – with calls and instant messaging. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags placed on miners’ caps and vehicles keep everyone synced up with location tracking via a 3D map for improved worker safety. New collaboration capabilities extend to other DPM locations, making face-to-face collaboration possible between managers, geologists and metallurgists as they discuss production, development and project schedules. This all adds up to better understanding and decision-making across the board.
So what have these changes meant for DPM?
Production increased by 400 percent, far exceeding their original 30 percent goal.
Miner safety has improved as they track miners’ movements and know where everyone is at all times.
Asset utilization of vehicles has also improved via continually transmitted data identifying repair needs.
Communication and energy costs have been lowered through more efficient use of resources.
This is just the start of DPM leveraging IoE’s capabilities. The company plans to replicate the same systems in all of its mines, as well as extend the Internet of Everything concept to health monitoring of employees, using connected environmental health sensors.
The Internet of Everything is not just the technology of tomorrow. It is here today, and the networked connections it provides can impact all industries, even those industries with roots from long ago.
Ten years ago, I remember driving around my neighborhood with a laptop, wireless card, and an antenna looking at the Service Set Identifiers (SSID) of all the open wireless networks. Back then, a home user’s packets often flew through the air unencrypted with nary a thought to who might be listening.
As a protocol, Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), has continually improved (IEEE 802.11) and today it is the preferred communication channel for a multitude of home devices including video game consoles, cameras, streaming video devices, mobile phones, tablets, and list goes on. As October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we outline typical WiFi risks and share sensible precautions.
In my last three homes, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) installation technician arrived with a cable modem that included four Ethernet ports and native WiFi default enabled. In each case, the technician explained that I could manage the cable modem through the settings webpage. When I inquired about management authentication credentials all of the technicians told me that passwords were not enabled by default, which naturally caused some consternation due to the obvious security implications.
It turns out that most ISPs will provide a modem without WiFi capabilities upon request. You can also request that a WiFi enabled modem be converted to bridge mode which will allow you to attach and manage your own WiFi access point (AP) without worrying about conflicts. Read More »
I was driving home the other day when I heard a radio report on densely populated California cities. What’s interesting was a mention of a small California city that is ranked as the nation’s fourth most dense urbanized area. I guess that a lot of people don’t know Delano, a central valley city with a population density of 5,483 people per square mile. It’s surprisingly more dense than the New York-Newark, N.J. metropolitan area which is ranked the 5th.
Many people with many devices in a densely populated area can pose a challenge to WiFi networks. I was talking to a Cisco customer in the New York City area a few days ago. He said that deploying WiFi was not as straightforward as it used to be. There are many RF interferences near his office and many new SSIDs that he never saw before.
Last week at the ODVA Annual Conference--as part of ODVA’s announcement of a new energy initiative and white paper--Cisco’s Bryce Barnes roused a packed-house audience representing ODVA’s ~200 industrial and automation suppliers with a compelling speech on the immediate need for Optimization of Energy Usage (OEU™) in the Production domain. Energy consumption statistics for the industrial sector are staggering, most estimates suggesting half of the world’s total delivered energy, and that amount is projected to increase by 40% over the next 25 years. For Manufacturers, energy typically constitutes the first or second highest portion of product variable costs, and most manufacturing companies now report as part of their governance a sustainability strategy that is core to their overall business strategy. Furthermore, volatility of energy markets--closely linked to the stability of governments, international relations and policies--raises the risk profile for continuity of supply, production and satisfaction of customers. Optimizing energy consumption, minimizing energy costs and mitigating energy risks are clearly top of mind business imperatives for the Manufacturing CEO.
Mark Wylie discusses the importance of energy optimization to sustainable manufacturing operations. Check out Mark’s December blog on factory energy management.