The Weather Company, a unit of IBM Corp., has rolled out software designed to help motor carriers avoid weather-related delays that it says cost the industry nearly $9 billion a year.
Dubbed the "Operations Dashboard for Ground Transportation," the software, which can be tailored to each carrier's need, provides real-time information on weather and road conditions. The system also integrates real-time traffic-flow and incident data and flags safety hazards, according to The Weather Company, an Atlanta-based company that offers business-to-business IT and consulting services.
Distribution center executives and truck dispatchers will have access to the company's network of vehicles and locations, with a view of weather, traffic, and safety information on each route, according to the company. DC managers will also have views of weather and traffic status that may impact employee safety and facility conditions, the company said.
Drivers will receive real-time alerts for current and upcoming locations based on their current trajectory. In addition, dispatchers can create individualized alerts of approaching hazards, which can be transmitted via application programming interface (API) technology to drivers while they are in their cabs or on their mobile devices, the company said. Drivers will receive high-resolution alerts that can be updated as frequently as every five minutes, the company said.
Mark Gildersleeve, vice president and head of business solutions for the Andover, Mass.-based company, said the software provides users with a "single view of critical weather and traffic information," which helps reduce costly inefficiencies and keep drivers out of harm's way.
"We understand that weather can be disruptive, but with the right insight, companies can be prepared to make proactive decisions," Gildersleeve said.
This is The Weather Company's first foray into freight transportation and logistics. Its sister company, The Weather Channel, provides real-time weather updates targeted at consumers and businesses.
While other industries—including the airlines and airfreight companies—have relied for years on real-time weather data from private sources, the trucking industry, state departments of transportation, and other transportation agencies generally have used historical information from public forecasting sources, which might not be the best way to obtain precise or current data, The Weather Company said. As a result, many transport firms are more affected by weather conditions than they need to be, the company said.
The Weather Company provides daily forecasts for 2.2 billion locations around the world. Its sister company, The Weather Channel, provides real-time weather forecasts aimed mostly at consumers.