Partners Invest in Weather Network Infrastructure Providing Real-Time Weather Information to Help Manage Electricity Flow Across Northern Ireland During Severe Weather Conditions
Germantown, MD — WeatherBug®, providers of the largest private weather network in the world, has announced a partnership with Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), BT and UTV New Media. The joint investment will result in the creation of a sophisticated weather station network (often referred to as a mesonet) in Northern Ireland. The weather stations, integrated into the WeatherBug worldwide weather network, will provide real-time weather information to NIE to assist in planning and preparation for severe weather that could potentially cause impact on the electricity network.
The investment in this type of infrastructure will create the first network of professional-grade automated weather stations in Northern Ireland, providing NIE with critical weather data that can gauge wind gust and sustained wind severity, and other critical weather trends in advance. This information will supplement the existing daily, regional weather forecasts provided by the UK Met Office, giving the utility a more comprehensive view of the prevailing weather conditions throughout Northern Ireland. There are also terrific opportunities to use the data in other ways across Northern Ireland for business, leisure and home.
The creation of the WeatherBug network can significantly empower anyone who needs accurate weather data in Northern Ireland. These include agriculture, emergency services, insurance, education, construction, travel, tourism, sporting and many other fields where weather affects daily life and may even have a health and safety impact. The severe weather alerts quickly predict actual events such as imminent downpours, high winds, fog and freezing to show where driving, working or just living is under threat. The data can be provided on phones, computers and bespoke devices according to need.
The agreement means more than thirty weather stations will be built and maintained and, through the use of a web-based weather Command Centre, will provide NIE access to real-time weather observations, customised weather alerts, and other operational information throughout the region.
"As we all know, weather conditions in Northern Ireland are constantly changing and this can cause difficulties for NIE as our electricity network is mostly held on overhead lines that are vulnerable to damage from storms or severe weather. Throughout the year our Duty Incident teams are in regular contact with the Met Office for the most up-to-date nformation, however, this is mostly predictive. The new WeatherBug system can provide an up-to-the-minute and localised picture of evolving weather conditions. The system will also alert us if there are extreme gusts of wind, rainfall or icy conditions and enables us to monitor changing conditions on the ground and respond appropriately. We believe this tool will help us to plan and predict for the deployment of our emergency response crews during big storms," said Stephen Harper, NIE Duty Incident Manager.
UTV New Media is providing the broadband services for the weather stations to communicate NIE’s weather data on to UTV Internet, with BT Wholesale providing broadband end user access to UTV Internet’s ISP network. WeatherBug and UTV New Media plan to further expand access to the network throughout Northern Ireland via schools, towns, and tourism destinations and to make the online content widely available. "Not only will the expansion of the WeatherBug network help NIE, but through our portal www.u.tv, everyone will also be able to access up-to-the-minute weather conditions for their local area," said Jeremy Biggerstaff, Managing Director of UTV New Media.
"Our years of experience in the energy and utilities industry has shown that live weather intelligence and alerts from a mesonet of weather stations can benefit energy traders as well as electricity producers, distributors, and operators with their decision making. WeatherBug is pleased to add this initiative in Northern Ireland to our global expansion efforts," said Jeremy Usher, Managing Director of WeatherBug Europe.
About Northern Ireland Electricity
Northern Ireland Electricity, a member of the Viridian Group, is responsible for the planning, development, construction and maintenance of the electricity transmission and distribution network, and for the operation of the distribution network in Northern Ireland.
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.
In the year ended 31 March 2009, BT Group’s revenue was £21,390 million.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. For more information, visit www.bt.com/aboutbt
About UTV Media
UTV New Media is part of UTV Media plc, one of the most successful media companies in the UK and Ireland. UTV New Media incorporates UTV Internet, Tibus, UTV Drive and RecruitNI and is focused on providing consumer and business online web services and content to customers across the UK and Ireland.
(www.u.tv, www.utvinternet.com, www.tibus.com, www.utvdrive.co.uk, www.recruitNI.com)
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WeatherBug (http://www.weatherbug.com and http://www.weatherbugprofessional.com) precisely monitors, organizes and disseminates global weather information. As a trusted source for live, local dynamic data, WeatherBug empowers society with weather intelligence for making more informed decisions. Millions of consumers and professional organizations, including the National Weather Service, rely on WeatherBug to plan daily activities, safeguard lives and improve business operations. WeatherBug is a brand of AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. (http://www.aws.com)