Met Office shares data to improve business resilience against bad weather

Technology firms in Sunderland are being given access to Met Office data which could see businesses help plan for bad weather

Andy Commins A farmhouse surrounded by snow in County Durham
A farmhouse surrounded by snow in County Durham

Technology companies in Sunderland are being given access to data from the Met Office in a unique partnership which could see businesses build new applications to help transport organisations plan for bad weather.

John Hirst, the chief executive of the Met Office, will launch the partnership today at Sunderland Software City.

It will see never-before-released weather data from the Met Office’s archive opened up to the region’s software companies for a six-month pilot period.

The Integrated Transport and Weather Information Pilot (ITWIP) is being billed as an opportunity for businesses to develop usable software applications and technology solutions on the back of the information.

Hirst said: “The Instant Weather initiative was established by the Met Office and the Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC) to provide real-time information for decision making.

“The aim is to encourage SMEs and others to use data and information in new and innovative ways to generate new products and services.

“Making sure this data is used is an important part of our strategy– the ITWIP project is a really important pioneer in using this data.”

At the event today 14 of the region’s software businesses will discuss the importance of the project and will meet with a number of transport organisations including Nexus, the Port of Tyne and Sunderland City Council.

They will also provide their own data so the software businesses can explore technology solutions to the problems they face.

The event will also be attended by potential buyers from some of the UK’s biggest transport and logistics companies including Stagecoach Buses, the RAC and First TransPennine Express.

Representatives from CDEC and Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) centres will also present at the event, providing details of ongoing support being made available to software companies to turn their ideas into fully commercial solutions.

David Dunn, chief executive of Sunderland Software City said: “The ITWIP project is a long-term effort to facilitate collaboration between innovative software companies and end users with real business needs; companies who can achieve greater efficiencies or productivity through the use of new technology systems or intelligence services.

“The project has been developed in collaboration with internationally recognised experts in big data and transport systems and mobility management from CDEC and TSC.

“Bringing these centres of excellence together, along with never-before-available Met Office data, makes this a nationally important project and a truly unique opportunity for software SMEs in the North East to enter new markets and sell innovative solutions that are in demand from large, international organisations.”

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