IBM has unveiled its new Environmental Intelligence Suite, a collection of artificial intelligence (AI)-based software tools aimed at helping organizations prepare for and respond to weather and climate risks.
The suite, offered as a software as a service (SaaS) product, brings together AI, weather data, climate risk analytics, and carbon accounting capabilities. IBM said this would allow firms to spend fewer resources collecting such complex data and more on analyzing it for insights and taking action to improve their operations.
IBM said the suite delivers environmental insights via application programming interfaces (APIs), dashboards, maps, and alerts that can help companies address immediate operational challenges and longer-term planning and strategies. It also uses technologies from IBM Research, which apply natural language processing and automation designed to help companies estimate carbon emissions and identify opportunities to reduce them across their operations or with suppliers.
Among the examples IBM gave of the suite’s usefulness was the ability for companies to monitor disruptive environmental conditions, such as severe weather, wildfires, flooding, and air quality and send alerts when detected. The suite can also predict potential impacts of climate change and weather across the business using climate risk analytics.
Companies can also gain insights into potential operational disruptions and prioritize mitigation and response efforts. Other features measure and report on environmental initiatives while reducing this burden on procurement and operations teams.
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For example, IBM environmental data and geospatial analytics are being used by Brazilian ethanol, bioelectricity, and sugar company BP Bunge Bioenergia. This data helps it better understand its agricultural sugarcane production and improve its market intelligence estimates regarding global sugar production. Agribusiness leader Cajamar also uses it to help Spanish farmers improve yields and reduce environmental impact via its digital Plataforma Tierra tool.
Kareem Yusuf, general manager of IBM AI Applications, said the future of business and the environment are deeply intertwined. “Not only are companies coping with the effects of extreme weather disruptions on their operations, they're also being held increasingly accountable by shareholders and regulators for how their operations impact the planet,” he said.
The suite integrates with IBM's broader software portfolio for additional efficiencies across business operations, including IBM Maximo Application Suite to help companies protect and extend critical assets’ life cycle and IBM Supply Chain Intelligence Suite to help build more sustainable supply chains.
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Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.