AccuWeather is preparing to give businesses the ability to assemble their own weather forecasts and extreme weather warnings off its weather site using an experimental IBM tool called QEDWiki.
QEDWiki is being experimented with by a handful of customers to give IBM feedback on what enterprises need to build mashups -- Web 2.0-style applications that draw results from different sources, based on what users are seeking. QEDWiki is not a product and has no pricing at this time, says Dan Gisolfi, IBM IT architect.
The IBM mashup tool is meant to be used by business users to generate fresh applications, using their own enterprise data in combination with AccuWeather resources. Business analysts or line of business managers can use QEDWiki when they need new or additional information rather than turning to the IT department and submitting an application request.
Results from third-party services can be incorporated into such mashup applications as well.
For example, AccuWeather will build a set of software components that work with QEDWiki that would provide such services as: short-range temperature forecast, based on region specified by the user; short-range precipitation forecast for a user-designated region; watching for and warning of extreme weather, such as tornadoes, hail, high winds, heavy rain; marine forecasts on wind speed and direction, wave height and sea surface temperatures.
With these widgets available, a business with inventory in multiple warehouses in a tornado-prone zone could build an application that invoked the widgets to check weather conditions for each location. The checks could prevent losses as important restocking operations got under way, notes AccuWeather's Paul Raymond, senior product manager.
"I view this tool as a way to complement AccuWeather's existing syndicated services," Raymond says. Customers often ask for weather services tailored to their needs that his company cannot develop on its own. But the combination of widgets on the AccuWeather Web site and QEDWiki in the hands of users will enable customer generated mashup applications on short notice, he says.
Shipping companies and the EPA are among AccuWeateher's potential clients, Raymond says.