Person standing in the rain with an umbrella

A Change In The Weather: The Dark Sky API

I moved to New York City in October 2012, arriving on the last flight into JFK before the skies shut down ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

Growing up in Ireland I didn’t have to worry about extreme weather events, but after surviving the hurricane and settling into life in NYC I quickly learned the value of checking my Dark Sky app each morning to make sure I was prepared for whatever was happening outside my front door.

Now checking the weather before going outside has become a normal part of my day.

Equally, over the years I’ve gained an appreciation for and understanding of the impact that weather events can have on businesses of all types, and the role that good weather data can play in helping those businesses prepare for severe weather. This is an area that is ripe with opportunity for innovation, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a little about the role of weather data in IoT systems as we introduce Temboo’s support for the Dark Sky API

Illustration of wind turbines

A Breath of Fresh Air: Weather Data & IoT Systems

Although weather data is often incorporated into consumer IoT products, there hasn’t been a large push to incorporate this information into Industrial IoT systems.

Yet, according to one report, abnormal weather disrupts the operating and financial performance of 70% of businesses worldwide. With climate change on the rise, these numbers are poised to increase drastically. It seems only natural to turn to the Internet of Things to find a solution.

So what are some ways that IoT systems can integrate weather information to help reduce this level of disruption?

Well, there’s a large variety of use cases across many industries from manufacturing and building management, to agriculture, automotive, energy, utilities and many more.

Think about all the ways that extreme weather conditions can directly affect operations: power outages, reduced energy supplies, increased energy costs and more. Additionally, harsh weather conditions can also play a less direct role in impacting businesses through problems like traffic buildup and limiting employee availability.

For these reasons alone, factoring weather data into your business information systems can give a more rounded view of operations.

Weather forecast showing rain and clouds from the dark sky api

Operating Fine, In Rain or Shine

Apart from the negative impacts of extreme weather events, forecast data can be used to make better application-specific decisions on a day-to-day basis.

For example, by including the current weather conditions in a system that optimizes warehouse temperatures, you can prevent canned goods from bubbling or bursting if they get too hot. Reducing spoilage and waste can have a huge impact on cost savings for manufacturers in the food and beverage industry.

In another example from a previous blog post, we built an IoT system in collaboration with Digi International that used weather data to make smarter decisions about when remote water tanks should be refilled. Not only is this useful from a cost-savings point of view, it also contributes to maintaining a more sustainable and environmentally friendly operation.

The two use cases mentioned above consider current and future forecast data. However, if you can get your hands on historical data in a useful format, it can also be suitable for training machine learning models to predict how a given manufacturing operations will perform under certain weather conditions.

As you can see, IoT systems that incorporate weather data could greatly improve the accuracy of many different business processes. At Temboo, we’ve always made weather data available via API for customers looking to make their applications weather-aware, and today we’re announcing a change in how we do that.

Sun shining on plants

Goodbye Yahoo! Weather, Hello Dark Sky API

For many years, the Yahoo! Weather API was a software developer’s go-to source for weather data, providing standardized, computer-readable weather forecast information up to five days out for anywhere in the world. It was used by everyone from Apple (in the iPhone’s Weather app) to Temboo customers building IoT applications across the globe.

Recently, Yahoo shut down their popular weather data feed and introduced a new weather data source that imposes more technical requirements on developers who wish to access weather data. It also requires that all applications go through a whitelisting process that can take up to 3 business days to clear.

Since our mission at Temboo is to make it as easy as possible for people to build IoT systems, we started looking for a better way to provide programmatic access to weather data.

After surveying all of the weather APIs we could find, we decided that the Dark Sky API offered the best all-round experience, both in the getting started phase and at scale.

It’s no surprise that Dark Sky’s weather API is used by companies like Yelp, Microsoft, ConEdison, and many more.

The Dark Sky API logo

On Cloud Nine with Dark Sky & Temboo

You can access the Dark Sky API via Temboo today. It contains the full capabilities to query for weather forecast information at different levels of granularity for the next hour, the next 2 days and the next week. You can even use their Time Machine feature to get historical weather forecast data.

Animated gif of Dark Sky API and Temboo

By default, Dark Sky requires that you query its API using latitude and longitude coordinates. For those of you who want to query by real-world address, we’ve added an extra feature that lets you combine the Dark Sky API with Google’s Geocoding API, just to make your life a little bit easier.

Illustration of building with antenna sending signals out on the roof

Know Which Way the Wind Blows with IoT

How does the weather impact your business? Would having up-to-the-minute weather data, longer-range forecasts, and knowledge of past weather events better inform how you run you business?

At Temboo, we know how hard it can be get industrial-scale IoT applications off the ground, particularly when you’re concerned with combining disparate data sources like weather data and data from your own internal sensors.

Our Kosmos IoT System makes it easy for engineers of all types to create data monitoring, alerting, and analytical applications.

If you are interested in learning more how Kosmos can help your business, you can get started by signing up for our early access program.