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Smart home technology, such as the range of products from Nest, has been gaining traction for some time now. The $199 NestCam has been providing reassurance to homeowners, pet-owners and parents everywhere with video streamed directly to smartphones, and the ability to talk and listen in real time.
Increasingly, consumers are adopting similar technological solutions to look outside, and track the weather. Once the domain of ardent weather enthusiasts, there are now a number of weather stations on the market that cater to everyone, from gardeners and farmers, to city dwellers and college students, as highlighted here. One new weather station on the block is BloomSky, which with its HD camera captures incredible, hyper-local images and provides the user with a time-lapse video at the end of each day, for our money making it the Nest of weather stations. What also sets it apart is the accompanying app – even if you don’t have a weather station, you can download the app and view live footage from BloomSky cameras wherever they are around the world.
Creating a community around weather makes perfect sense. Weather is the great social unifier; it’s what we ask about when talking about vacations, it’s what we check when planning weekend trips, and increasingly, it impacts our wallets as water shortages alter food prices and utility bills. Being able to share early information about concerning weather patterns is also a huge service to the community. And it’s not just where we live that interests us – a quick straw poll around the office reveals that on our smartphone weather apps, we are all following a minimum of 5 locations around the world – places we have visited, come from or just plan to go to.
One drawback to a lot of smartphone weather apps is that they are pretty two dimensional, heavy on the data, light on the experiential. Perhaps that explains the huge growth in digital video traffic The Weather Company (owner of Weather.com and Weather Underground) has seen of late. According to this report from Digiday.com, this past February the company had more than 13.2 million unique video viewers on desktop alone. Across both Weather.com and Weather Underground, that same month attracted more than 101 million unique visitors. The appetite for better, more instant and more visual weather information is clearly there, and as we experience more extreme weather, only set to grow.
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