Tom Keighley

Member Article

Weather data pilot has the potential to put North East on international map

A project that gives North East software firms huge amounts of previously unaccessible weather data is of international importance, the boss of the Met Office says.

Speaking at the recent launch of the Integrated Transport and Weather Information Pilot (ITWIP), Met Office chief executive and North Easterner, John Hirst, said there was huge potential in the data made available - both commercial and societal.

Mr Hirst praised the region’s prowess in software development and said the decision to bring the pilot to the region was an obvious one, and the North East could establish itself as a world-leader in weather data innovations.

He added: “Sunderland Software City and it’s network of technology businesses is one of those innovative and purposeful partners.

“Since initial talks began last year it’s been thoroughly exciting and we’re now on the cusp of taking lots of very useful data into the software developing and user community.”

Regional firms involved in the pilot will now have access to data for use in creating technology to inform retailers on what lines to stock ahead of weather changes; logistics firms on what routes to take; and information for public transport users.

Mr Hirst continued: “The products and services developed here will be sold to the private sector and government departments

The initial pilot takes place for six months but Sunderland Software City CEO David Dunn said the long-term scope for the project was huge, as firms will be encouraged to create new business models and access finance to make them a reality.

He told Bdaily: “At the end of the six months we want to have models that will generate profits.

“The Met Office has so much data that presents a great opportunity, but they don’t have the route to market - and this is where North East SMEs will come into play.

“The number of commercial and technical Met Office at the launch event is testament to how seriously this project is being taken. It won’t be a case of the senior team heading off back to London afterwards, they will be continually involved in developing the ideas over the next six months.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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