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The Weather Company: Creating Consumer Apps That Leverage Big Data: Case Submission

Autor:   •  September 5, 2017  •  Case Study  •  1,382 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,039 Views

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1. Now that public weather datasets are available, how will TWC be able to maintain its competitive advantage with its weather-centric running app? How exclusive is the weather content? In addition to location and weather, what other data could TWC incorporate into the OutSider app to make it the go-to running app and a source of premium advertising revenue?

     With the ever-expanding adoption of data streaming sensors, the ability of an individual firm to monopolize a weather-related data set diminishes greatly—forcing weather-centric firms to expand beyond commoditized use of data.  For example, TWC’s informational advantage has been slowly eroded by actions such as the National Weather Service’s deployment of small weather sensors on Greyhound buses and USPS vehicles to gather microclimate data across the country. The commoditization and democratization of such data sets require that TWC pursues a strategy of differentiation to develop a competitive advantage by using customized analytics to add value to individual users.  Specifically, its use of weather data to create their proprietary RWI index reflects a step in the right direction—enabling users to instantly gauge their microclimate and plan a run. Despite weather sets becoming more readily available to the public, TWC could continue to maintain its competitive advantage with its weather-centric running app by leveraging its own existing private networks and stations that are not available to the public to supplement existing public data sets and create unique insights. Similarly, TWC could look at acquiring certain weather companies and startups that might provide unique data or a new technology that  can leverage user and weather data. Additionally, despite the data being public, TWC could further develop and invest in fostering an analytical mindset within the firm to generate new sophisticated analysis and models. The data sets themselves are not useful if you can not extract information or find any trends.

Going forward, focusing on the Outsider app, TWC must continue to enable customized user experiences by making use of its local weather data and historical user data to develop custom user analytics to show how their running and the weather related—such as the predicted impact of an increase of 5 degrees Fahrenheit on their mile time—to increase the users switching cost and stem off competition. In effect, TWC must move beyond just weather and look how to integrate their app with other aspects of its user’s life to drive greater value to the user.

     

     Some additional data and features that can be added to the outsider App to make it more unique would be a ranking amongst consumer’s friends and family. Being able to compete amongst fellow runners pushes some to do more runs or beat their own time.

Similarly, companies could advertise and offer special awards to incentivize user adoption and reward users for logging miles or sending invites to multiple friends--which would help expand its base and create a network effect. To further facilitate user engagement, TWC could create some type of incentive program for runners. Once they hit certain levels, they might get free stuff or a discount from some of the advertising companies. The ability to message other runners and create running groups within the app could be another feature, which would leverage the built in GPS to create a group for runners in a certain location and offer group runs for any of the runners that are interested. Lastly, integration with social media such as Facebook and Twitter would allow users to seamlessly push their fitness accomplishments to their personal network and would help spread app awareness.

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