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Taking the weather with you
Exploring new opportunities for advanced weather information
In July, Pontem Analytics made a strategic investment in MyRadar, a leading weather and environmental information visualization and prediction company who are doing some amazing things in how they gather meteorological data and distribute information for use in various consumer and industrial settings.
I’ve always had a keen interest in meteorology from years of yacht racing as the onboard navigator, where I had to make strategic decisions using weather readings and forecasts downloaded from satellites, and from seeing the impacts of cyclones and other weather systems on the industries I’ve been involved with in a professional setting. With increased consequences from weather events that have the potential to impact critical infrastructure, the utilization of advanced weather information to make informed decisions to mitigate issues and optimize operations becomes more and more valuable.
Off the back of a successful capital raise, MyRadar are on track to launch some satellites for independent data acquisition and have some really cool features in the pipeline. We recently had a chat with Andy Green (CEO) and Sarvesh Garimella (CTO) to discuss how they’re exploring new markets, integrating new features and utilizing in-house and collaborative analytics to deliver value.
How did MyRadar grow from inception to the company it is today?
MyRadar started out as an aircraft tracking company back in the early 2000’s. It was a web-based application that would allow for the tracking of aircraft. In 2008, when the iPhone was launched, we developed our first mobile app, an aircraft tracking app. The app would allow you to pull up a tail number/aircraft ID and plot the aircraft on the map and animate the radar over the map. That was an interesting project to start… but one day, I was eating outside at a restaurant here in Florida during the summertime – anyone who lives in Florida knows that it’s going to rain somewhere around 2-3 o’clock. I was wondering how much time I had before the rains kicked in – so I pulled out my phone and checked the flight tracking app just to look at the weather. I had the idea of just spinning off the weather part of the app by taking out all of the flight tracking features and just releasing the app as a free weather app – the idea of having a device in your pocket that knew your location and could show you something useful about it was still a relatively novel idea at the time.
The free weather app took off like wildfire, so we quickly pivoted the company and put all our efforts into the weather app and grew it out organically, and the rest is history. Its release was an epiphany for me in the sense that it showed me how important the user experience was on a mobile device and helped narrow down what applications follow the path of a “killer app” using that environment.
Over the years, we built out the feature set in the app by gather additional data sources and combining them into useful services within the app – weather alerts, lightning data, rain alerts, and on and on. Over the years we recognized that if we built and launched our own satellite constellation, we could gather unique and innovative data not yet available elsewhere and not only incorporate that data and feature set into the app, but offer new products and services directly from the satellite network.
How are you currently leveraging data, software and technology to produce unique insights for your clients?
There’s an enormous amount of data available in the 21st century; the key is turning it into something useful for practical use cases and morphing it into something that’s actionable and practical. We use our mobile and desktop apps as an easy data visualization and alerting platform to provide information and insights to users, and we further enhance all of that capability by employing advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to provide innovative services to users that aren’t available elsewhere – or at least, aren’t all found in one place with the accuracy that we can provide.
Where do you see the growth of consumer and industrial weather services in the next 10 years?
Weather is a very broad subject that affects everyone in all lines of activities, and with a changing climate and increasingly more severe and more frequent weather events, valuable weather information tools and data are now more important than ever. Being able to observe more environmental phenomena and hazards from above will help increase reliability of the data, timeliness of the alerts, and the breadth of the types of hazards we can inform and alert on. In addition, new visualization platforms like Apple’s Vision Pro headset (and other iterations that come after it) will provide unique opportunities for companies like MyRadar to innovate and integrate the data we rely on in more unique and useful ways yet undreamt.
How valuable is the integrating of data and domain expertise into your commercial offerings?
Being a small, agile company with a lot of incredibly talented and creative scientists and engineers like ours allows us to move quickly and plunge headstrong into new technologies and to find ways to incorporate our expertise in the wide range of products we offer. Being able to stay on the cutting edge and bring these types of innovations to enterprise customers sets us apart from some of the legacy companies out there that can be slow to adopt new, higher-risk approaches.
What benefits do you see in collaborating with strategic partners to grow your business into new markets?
At its core, MyRadar works with data to create something useful and of high value to bring to customers. When that data comes from strategic partners that share a similar focus on new innovations and technologies that push the envelope, that helps on build even further on the foundations we’ve constructed, incorporating more useful data to build something that, in the end, is greater than the sum of its parts. This is the key to large, rapid advancements forward in data and intelligence tools.
Pontem Analytics is continuing discussions with the MyRadar team on potential collaboration opportunities utilizing weather data and predictive analytics for our industrial clients. We’re looking at ways to combine the MyRadar weather ecosystem, including data collection, physical technology, and software with Pontem’s data analyics capabilities and domain expertise to create a number of unique possibilities, from predictive decision support systems in energy processing facilities due to extreme weather events through to agriculture optimization and risk management.
Stay tuned for future solutions from this collaboration which drive enhanced value creation for clients across various industries!