Weathernews and other Japanese startups’ weather AI solutions aid with real-time alerts for squall and flood-prone Thailand and Vietnam.
As artificial intelligence (AI) develops and gains traction across more industries, Japan’s Weathernews and other startups are leveraging this tech to enable Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries across Asia clients to take early action against extreme conditions.
Weathernews, the leading weather company in Japan launched a pilot forecast service in February 2023, allowing clientele to track nearby sudden weather changes within a three-hour period. Weathernews’ AI collects and analyses data to deliver real-time, hyperlocal forecasts, warning of potential squalls and floods, and allowing for more time to protect or move equipment to prevent damage.
After experiencing the effects of a flash flood in 2021, an electronics factory in Thailand sought Weathernews’ services to better facilitate its operations. In contrast with the three hour window, the Thai Meteorological Department usually only provides daily forecasts by region.
Weathernews has also partnered with local governments to install its radar, aiming to raise the accuracy of forecasts in Thailand to those of Japan’s, planning to fully launch AI-based forecasting in Thailand in March, and in June in Vietnam, declaring themselves the first company to do such in Asia.
Other startups are also working to deliver solutions for this demand in Asia. Tokyo-based Spectee aims to use its AI to analyse photos and comments on social media to map out natural disasters in the Philippines. Spectee began a feasibility study in 2022 and is seeking a partner to set up a local unit.
“Asia is lagging in creating disaster information systems, so there is a big opportunity for cloud-based services,” commented Satoshi Negoro, the Chief Operating Officer of Spectee.
With logistics businesses such as airline operators and shipping companies making up most of Weathernews’ international portfolio, the company is targeting 500 clients, including electronics and auto-related manufacturers, through their new service, and to expand total revenue in Thailand and Vietnam to US$22.6 million annually, and overseas revenue to produce 70% to 80% of its total.
With Asia’s development of disaster management systems still slowly progressing, alongside growing populations, countries in the region are even more vulnerable to natural disasters. “Developing Asia bore 76% of the disaster victims and 25% of monetary damage caused by natural disasters globally between 2010 and 2020,” according to the Asian Development Bank.
The World Meteorological Organization reported “Weather and water-related hazards caused $35.6 billion in damage in Asia during 2021.”
Despite the advancements of these AI-enabled weather products and services profiting primarily from advanced economies, they may be unaffordable for companies and governments in emerging Asia. Curated services for local needs are essential to further disaster prevention across the region.
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