Everyone understands the value of data. The internet has made data, information, and even knowledge available and searchable to everyone, and fundamentally changed our society. Easy access to data has not only accelerated economic growth, it has also largely made our societies more equal.
However, there are areas where access to data, information, and knowledge is lacking. You can get large quantities of detailed, real-time financial information on any smartphone, but when it comes to environmental data, we have barely gotten started. There has been massive progress in some areas, such as weather forecasting, where we find some of the most advanced models we humans have been able to create. These models will only continue to improve in the coming decades through quantum computing and AI/ML. But tomorrow’s forecast is really the only area where weather and environmental data is readily available to everyone, and in many cases, it is inadequate when it comes to local severe weather.
Is environmental data part of our lives in the same way as all other data readily available through search engines? The answer is no, and it worries me. Climate change is a defining challenge for us, as well as for coming generations. Only by having access to large quantities of accurate data can we make a difference. Only when we have that, we can create new and better solutions to our existing problems and be ready to face the challenges the future holds.
And data is what we do. From multiple different sources and from Vaisala-delivered sensors, we receive an incredible amount of weather and environmental data, from air quality to lightning, every single day, hour, and second. Combined, these millions of data points can help us make the right choices. From predicting and mitigating the effects of natural disasters to optimizing food or energy delivery processes and reducing waste, the opportunities are endless. And this is only the start.
We need to think outside the box. It’s time to accelerate our efforts with actionable data that help us predict and protect the future of our societies.
It was from these thoughts the idea of Xweather was born some two years ago.
The journey toward solving the X
On September 28 in San Francisco, we shared our idea with our customers and partners by launching Xweather. As it happens, that date is also the birthday of Vilho Väisälä, who founded Vaisala in 1936.
We’ve been making strategic moves along the way, paving the way for Xweather: In 2019, we acquired the professional weather services from Foreca. In early 2022, we acquired AerisWeather, a software company providing weather and environmental information. With Vaisala’s expertise, these additional capabilities have been instrumental in building Xweather.
Business Finland believed in the idea of Xweather from the beginning and helped us to get started through our common program. For that, myself and the whole Xweather team are very grateful. We have had a great ongoing dialogue and joint goal with Business Finland throughout the program.
As Ecosystem Leads Tuomas Lehtinen and Jukka Lohivuo themself have put it: “Vaisala is a great example of bold reformer; being a leading company in it’s field and still actively seeking not only growth by new innovations but also new fresh business models for the benefit of whole ecosystem. A long term strong collaboration in environmental measurement and monitoring related innovation ecosystems is now turning a big and concrete action to tackle the climate change challenge.”
On the Earth’s to-do list: Address the climate change challenge
Unmitigated climate change threatens our planet’s future. But at Vaisala, we do not give into doom and gloom. For close to a century, we have helped people and companies across the globe to understand weather and climate, mitigate its volatile impacts, and adapt to severe conditions. We are the ones who identify the problem, who measure it, who quantify it, and who solve it.
We are excited and honored to work with people who believe in the same things we do – that access to accurate data is the key to solving the challenge.
It has always been my personal belief that great products are a reflection of the people that build them, like my former boss used to say. Bright minds with passion and drive. Does it reach beyond the gross margin? Is it going to drive positive change in society and people? You can tell whether someone cares about what they do from the product when you use it.
The challenge with climate change is that weather and the environment can feel like such abstract concepts. When we can show real data and numbers about the volatile changes in our world and the positive results of our actions, we can start changing the way people think, behave and act.
This is what Xweather is all about – providing the data and tools that can help everyone discover the absolute truth and solve the environment together. We don’t yet know all the possibilities our data can provide, but we’re looking forward to discovering it. With you.
You can find a video from the Vaisala Xweather launch event in San Francisco on September 28, 2022 on our YouTube channel - enjoy!