Helios Digital Platform: Improving our Weather-Ready Nation Infrastructure
The presentation will describe our approach and implementation of identifying three key use cases that drove the commercial development efforts to deliver relevant, actionable, user-specific weather information to diverse customers. Helios transforms disparate traffic and surveillance cameras into a single autonomous, persistent weather surveillance network powered by intelligent analytics to derive real-time weather conditions. The derived information is highly targeted, customizable, and used to make lives safer, more productive, and more enjoyable. The Helios Digital Platform (a.k.a. Helios) is a novel technological approach and infrastructure for helping people and organization better prepare for and respond to weather-related events. As a Weather-Ready infrastructure, Helios ingests imagery, processes it to derive weather conditions, and delivers real-time information as a data layer that is easily incorporated into users' existing systems or software applications via an Application Programming Interface (API). The three use cases that will be presented include: (1) Helios for improving short-term weather forecasting by filling the observation gaps between conventional weather observations and derived observations using image analytics for localized ground truth; (2) Helios for application developers for enhancing mobile phone and in-vehicle applications to improve overall safety and travel experience; and (3) Helios for enterprises to improve overall operational efficiencies and to mitigate risk to business continuity and driver safety caused by adverse weather conditions. The use cases will demonstrate how weather can impact people and organizations in common ways, yet information delivery is very specific and requirements vary to meet special needs and challenges. The presentation will include a detailed examination of how the use cases drove the technical requirements and the resulting product functionality. It will also provide insight as to how APIs are fast emerging as an effective and efficient way to deliver customizable and relevant information to diverse stakeholders and users. The presentation will conclude with an overview on future enhancements and trends that are shaping what infrastructure may best prepare our nation to be weather-ready.