It’s a little odd to use a concept like vertical integration but that seems to best explain what IBM is doing.
IBM calls what Watson does “cognitive computing,” heralding an age of machines that supposedly think. What the company has not figured out is how to make this into an engine of growth. The tech giant has had years of shrinking revenue, but says its investments in Watson will take time to bear fruit.
It will be picking up more talent in the deal. The Weather Company has many atmospheric scientists, but Mr. Kenny said that three-quarters of its scientists worked in computers and data.
Much of that weather data is derived from publicly available sources, but the company has supplemented this with information from 147,000 small weather stations it has distributed to people around the country, which receive local forecasts in exchange.
The company also has a popular mobile app, which Mr. Kenny said collected barometric pressure from its users’ phone sensors. Millions of locations are turning in information 96 times a day.