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By Laurie Fullerton, Freelance Writer

December 20, 2016 | 2 min read

Do consumers want to speak to their ads? IBM and The Weather Company think so. After the latter’s digital division was acquired by IBM, the pair this year launched “Watson Ads”, using the artificial intelligence system’s natural language-handling capabilities to power a conversational new ad format.

So what’s the big idea? For Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman, it’s about using the cloud to go beyond weather.

“We’re making a transition where the data that we provide is not just in the weather space,” he tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “We’ve got a ton of geolocation data … everything from professional weather stations to amateur weather stations, but also to smart phones and cars, etc. All of that data is value that we can put to work for brands and for businesses.”

Why Watson? Because IBM’s software could be a secret weapon for ad targeting.

The Weather Company has data sensors out all over the world as they make thousands of weather forecasts a day. The weather company now shares that data with Watson. Watson can take the unstructured data and make it structured and learn from the data.

“Being part of Watson, it enables us to take all the data that we have, put it together and combine it with our clients’ first party data or any other kind of third party data and utilize it for best effect on their business,” Bitterman adds.

He notes that the Weather Company sells a lot of video, directly and for programmatic. Further, as a data company, its best opportunity is to apply data to all of the products they sell including video.

“We are going to have a very intelligent video,” he notes. “Because we are a data company, AR, VR it all throws off data. It is all a canvas for us to pull from or draw on. In a data driven world we have solutions now and that we are developing for the future to help our clients win."

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