Wherever you live, you’re probably all too aware that inclement weather can have a serious impact on citizen safety and city budgets. And until recently, municipalities affected by local road and weather conditions didn’t have easy access to the data they needed to do anything other than react to weather patterns once they occurred. Now, thanks to recent advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), communities can make faster, more informed decisions based on hyper-local road weather data, improving road safety and increasing economical efficiencies – turning city officials into city heroes.
Each year, dangerous road conditions result in 7,400 deaths and 700,000 injuries, while businesses and municipalities spend $2.3 billion on snow and ice control operations. By having access to microclimate information regarding current road conditions, municipalities can not only keep their citizens safer but also potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, by being more efficient with resources.
For example, in Fairbanks, Alaska, the state’s Department of Transportation needed a way to make important decisions such as whether to de-ice the roads as a snowstorm approaches or as the storm is happening. Fairbanks turned to IoT solutions provider Fathym, which developed WeatherCloud, a sophisticated weather tracking solution built on Azure IoT Hub that provides a more complete understanding of real-time road weather.
Fathym turned to Azure IoT after originally building its solution on Amazon Web Services (AWS). To enable a solution as advanced as WeatherCloud, Fathym needed to implement an IoT offering with best-in-class flexibility and speed of deployment.
“Microsoft Azure and Azure Service Fabric has allowed us to build out a full ecosystem of IoT microservices,” said Matthew Smith, CEO of Fathym. “We expect that scalability is going to be a big gain as we roll out our solution to additional clients, and having Microsoft Azure IoT as our deployment platform is very well received by our clients, prospects and strategic partners. The ease and speed of development on the platform as well as the scalability translates to cost savings and flexibility that are very welcome to our company.”
WeatherCloud is currently being used by multiple organizations including the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Alaska, Utah, Iowa and Colorado Departments of Transportation and the Meteorological Service of New Zealand to help improve maintenance, commuting, and routing operations by providing accurate, hyper-local road conditions. With Fathym’s personalized dashboards, city officials can view current road conditions, future forecasts, and set alerts based on incoming data, helping cities maintain safer roads and make more strategic and cost-efficient decisions regarding their weather-related response systems. These solutions reduce the impact of dangerous and costly roads by enabling city officials to make more informed decisions about whether to deploy expensive assets to ensure that citizens get the help they need when and where they need it.
Commercial fleets using the technology can also save tens of thousands of dollars by having access to near real-time road condition information. The WeatherCloud solution helps reduce delays created by inclement weather with more accurate weather forecasting and real-time fleet re-routing capabilities.
The WeatherCloud solution is a great example of how companies are accelerating their digital transformation in innovative ways with Azure IoT solutions. It also highlights the direct impact of migrating from AWS to Azure, which enabled Fathym to scale, grow, and transform their businesses.