How an iPhone can change the weather (business)

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 11:00 AM
B218 (GWCC)
Russell Heilig, Davis Instruments, Hayward, CA

Presentation PDF (14.3 kB)

The combination of growing cellular coverage, dropping data pricing rates, and ever-improving smart phones has created a “perfect storm” to fuel a rise in mobile computing. A growing number of people routinely carry the equivalent of a miniature computer in their pocket or purse, a device that maintains a constant connection to the Internet. This creates unparalleled access to people wherever they are, and provides the best opportunity for data providers, advertisers, and others to connect with their target audiences. According to a recent report on smart phone usage by online market research firm "Compete", 39% of iPhone users cited weather-related apps as one of the three kinds of applications they use most frequently. Weather access outpaced social networking and game applications by a factor of two. In the same way the Internet has allowed people to access information according to their schedule and their interests, the rise of smart phones has now pushed this same data to within an arm's reach at all times. It is not surprising that every major source of weather information has developed one or more mobile versions of their web sites to try and capture part of this emerging market. These new weather interfaces are designed to take advantage of the various mobile platforms, and provide the exact data a customer wants, when they want it, often for no additional fee. Each provider's approach is different, and usually reflects their traditional web site strategy. As this technology continues to evolve, weather data providers will likely need to continually adjust their approach to stay competitive in the race for weather consumers. Looking at the overall weather data marketplace, all companies engaged in the business of delivering current, historical, and forecasted data need to be aware that the smart phone is swiftly becoming a consumer's “closest companion”. Over time, all other sources of information may seem less convenient (and thus less important) by comparison.