Weather. The ultimate conversation starter. So, how about the crazy heat we just saw in Europe? Temperatures were soaring to new all-time highs; even in places like Germany and Norway, which aren’t particularly known for smoldering summer heat. In the south of France though, they recorded a record-breaking 45.9°C (114.6°F). And, not far behind, in Catalonia, Spain, the heat grew so intense, it caused animal manure on pasturelands to self-ignite and spark massive wildfires. In parts of Europe, it was so hot, temperatures were on par with those in Arizona’s Death Valley. Now, the question is was this just a fluke or are we headed for a new normal?
Science seems to suggest that we are looking at the latter. Seven of the hottest years on record have occurred in the past decade. That’s seven out of ten. But how does weather impact our everyday lives beyond our daily choice of clothes, our diet, recreational activities, or travel plans? Weather is a huge economic factor. Estimates show that nearly 20% of the U.S. economy is directly affected by the weather1. Naturally, this includes its impact on the revenues and profitability of many industries; including agriculture, energy, travel, tourism, health, construction, and many more.
Maybe it’s time for businesses to become more innovative in including weather into their strategic and operational planning. With big data, AI, and more sophisticated weather-forecasting technologies being commonplace now, the ability to make timely weather-related decisions may well yield new market opportunities and afford some businesses a chance to reinvent themselves.
Out of a plethora of available weather Apps, Windy.com is a rather inspiring example of how life-weather information, along with up to 10-day forecasts can be displayed, delivered, and interpreted. Originally conceived as an App to forecast wind conditions for kite surfers, the site has now evolved into a professional-grade weather platform that’s also fun-to-use. Apparently, the Czech startup is still looking for ways to package their weather data as commercial products and services; so, maybe, the following will help them spark a few innovative ideas: