The weather isn’t just a topic for chatting around the water cooler. Thanks to Big Data, it is becoming big business.

That’s why IBM recently bought the Weather Channel for reported $2 billion. And it is also another manifestation of big data creating opportunities for companies to capitalize on.

IBM has made Big Data and analytics the next mountain it wishes to climb

They understand that a company of any size will need vital sets of information in order to survive and as such the technology giant is building a portfolio of products and data streams to ensure they will be at the right place, at the right time.

You don’t have to wait for IBM to provide all of the Big Data tools

Actually, you can take full advantage of opportunities within Big Data right now.

As an Example: a few years ago, a new startup (well let’s face it, it was just one guy) in a landscaping business realized that there wasn’t enough hours in a day to help clients and manage his business.

That’s a pretty common problem. We all get busy with the thing right in front of us that’s paying the bills. And we do that, at the expense of doing things that will actually grow the business.

For this guy, it came down to balancing time cutting grass versus taking time to provide clients with accurate quotes.

His solution? It’s probably something you’ve used at least once today – Google maps.

A big idea with the big data from Google maps

This guy searched Google maps. He measured the yard sizes in each neighbourhood. Then, he sent in his quotes.

The resolution from the Google application was sufficient enough to identify how much grass was present in each yard.

He could see how many trees were there. So, with that information, he could provide a reasonable estimate.

Most importantly, the quotes could be prepared at any time. He could even do this after dark, without ever needing to visit a potential customer.

That way, the daylight was dedicated to cutting grass – and making money.

The result? This company was able to rapidly grow and expand to other cities.

Search the Internet and you may see how many solutions are there for similar businesses now.

OK so hooray for the landscaper, he’s a smart guy. But now, let’s take the Google maps example. Let’s combine it with accurate (IBM) weather forecasts from it’s new acquisition in the Weather Channel.

How Big Data can monetize the weather

Retailers like Home Depot could deliver highly contextual advertisements to individual households. It would know the vegetation of every garden, understand the growing seasons for that area. And with weather forecasting, it would be sure to know which product to recommend to it’s customers.

In the not too distant future, you might be surprised the next time you receive a flyer for some new garden furniture. It will include a diagram of your back yard showing where to put it, combined with a new BBQ and a recommended local microbrewery to get your growler filled.

Then you’ll look outside at your garden and suddenly realize that these items were exactly what you were missing.

Welcome to the new world of marketing and advertising. thanks to big data