Predicting the weather is an inexact science – as anyone who has scheduled a picnic on a supposedly sunny day can tell you. Even under the best of circumstances, you can expect short-term weather forecasts to be inaccurate about 20% of the time, according to data from IBM. Climate change has made the job even more challenging because of the rise in unpredictable and extreme weather patterns.
This is a problem for everyone, but it’s especially problematic for organizations that depend on accurate weather forecasts to operate schedules, avoid danger, and prepare for potential disruptions in service. These organizations range from sports leagues and utilities to airlines and even the military. Rather than continue to rely exclusively on government weather data, many are turning to private forecasters for more detailed and accurate information.
One of the leaders in private forecasting is Tomorrow.io, a Boston-based weather intelligence platform that aims to predict the impact of weather up to 14 days in advance to help clients avoid or minimize disruptions and safety hazards. The idea is to transform forecasts into recommended actions based on the weather conditions.
Tomorrow.io plans to accomplish this by disrupting the way weather forecasts are determined and analyzed. To improve global forecasting capabilities, the company is launching a first-of-its-kind commercial weather satellite constellation equipped with radars and microwave sounders. The program is designed to help organizations better prepare for and mitigate the business impact of weather. In 2023, Tomorrow.io plans to launch 30 satellites equipped with meteorological radar that can monitor ocean activity before it reaches the shore.
This focus on innovation and cutting-edge technology has put Tomorrow.io on the fast track commercially since the company was formed in 2016. As Bloomberg reported, Tomorrow.io has already raised about $260 million in financing and signed deals with Delta Air Lines, Ford, the NFL, and the U.S. Air Force. The company recently formed a partnership with Microsoft to support governments, businesses, and farmers in Africa to adapt to the growing impact of climate change.
Given its success so far, it’s no surprise that Tomorrow.io has designs to become a dominant player in the private forecasting sector, where it faces off against competitors like IBM, AccuWeather, and DTN.
“We want to be the biggest company in the world in weather and climate,” CEO and co-founder Shimon Elkabetz told Bloomberg.
Elkabetz and Tomorrow.io’s co-founders – Chief Strategy Officer Rei Goffer and Chief Customer Officer Itai Zlotnik – met in the Israeli air force. There, they learned about the limitations of current weather reporting technologies. They founded the company to tailor forecasts for specific industries that depend on predictable weather.
Under Tomorrow.io’s business model, existing data from weather stations and sensors are aggregated and then combined with other signals the company collects from cell towers and car windshield wipers. It refers to this model as the “weather of things.” After analyzing the data, Tomorrow.io’s software offers recommendations on how to react to the weather to minimize its impact.
This is important work not just in the private sector but in the public sector as well. For example, in November Tomorrow.io announced the launch of its global early warning system designed specifically for municipalities and national governments. The system was tested in cities worldwide to improve climate adaptation capabilities, with a core focus on protecting populations against hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters.
“It’s clear that we’re losing the fight against extreme weather events, and our global early warning systems are here to level the playing field,” Goffer said in a press release.