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More companies paying to pinpoint big-data weather forecasts
December 5, 2016 News big data Weather Forecasts


A growing number of construction companies, farmers and railways are benefitting from area-specific weather forecasts based on supercomputer analyses of so-called big data.

Contractors are using the “pinpoint” forecasts to minimize delays at construction sites caused by bad weather, something they could never accurately do before.

“Although we are paying for detailed weather information, the fees are cheaper than the cancellation charges for delivery of construction materials to our work sites,” an official at major contractor Kajima Corp. said.

Kajima is a client of Halex Corp., a Tokyo-based unit of NTT Data Corp. that predicts weather conditions every 30 minutes over a 72-hour period in areas as small as 1 sq. km.

Even if a prefecture-wide weather forecast says it will be rainy throughout the day, there may be areas where it stops for a while.

“If we know in advance that a work site will not have rain for some hours, we can arrange job plans for the site without canceling work for the entire day,” the Kajima official said.

Conversely, if rain is predicted at a construction site by a pinpoint forecast even though the forecast for the prefecture is sunny or cloudy, contractors can cancel deliveries of fresh concrete to avoid paying a cancellation fee.

The localized weather service also includes forecasts on maximum wind speed, thunder and such health-related information as heatstroke probabilities.

“Utilizing big data enables us to avoid various weather-associated risks,” the Kajima official said.

In the agriculture sector, the use of big weather data has begun to spread among producers of mandarin oranges, which are vulnerable to sudden temperature changes, and lettuce, which can be damaged by morning fog.

Railway Keikyu Corp. is also a Halex client.

East Japan Railway Co., which experienced a derailment in the past that was caused by a rain-triggered landslide, hopes to prevent a similar accident by measuring landslide risks based on localized rain forecasts and data on accumulated rainfall.

“Combining each industry’s know-how with finely detailed weather information can help practice economy and prevent serious damage,” said Halex President Masaaki Ochi.

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