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L'histoire de Accuweather


Patito

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In 1962, AccuWeather founder Dr. Joel N. Myers began forecasting the weather for a utility company while still a graduate student. Since then, AccuWeather has grown to become the worlds leading commercial weather service. In 1971, AccuWeather began services to radio and TV stations , and now serves hundreds worldwide. AccuWeather began providing custom weather pages in 1986, and currently has more than 800 newspaper clients. AccuWeather is also the leader in weather for wireless devices and the Internet.

 

The Early Years

 

On November 15, 1962, Joel N. Myers, then a graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University, began forecasting the weather for a gas utility company in Pennsylvania. He not only had a firm grasp of weather patterns, but he also had insight into the impact of the weather on businesses and people, and how accurate forecasts could improve their ability to plan for, and cope with, the weather.

 

As Myers worked on his M.S. and then Ph.D. in meteorology from Penn State, his customer base grew to include other businesses and government agencies. The first ski area was served in 1963, and the first forensic customer in 1965. In 1967, the first government agency subscribed to the Snow Warning Service, and services customized for fuel oil dealers and construction companies began in 1968.

Through the 1960s and into 1971, in addition to his meteorological consulting business, Myers taught full-time at Penn State, conducted research, did television weather broadcasts, and worked on his Ph.D. During this time, Myers service continued to be a small winter seasonal forecasting boutique, providing custom forecasts and warnings to highway departments, utility companies, construction companies, ski resorts, and other weather-sensitive businesses and agencies.

 

Year-Round and Media Service Begins

 

The first use of the AccuWeather® brand name occurred in November 1971, as the company expanded its operations to a year-round service. The first radio station to be served by AccuWeather was WARM-AM in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA, and the first television station served was WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, in 1972. Indeed, of the first seven broadcast stations served by AccuWeather in the early 1970s, five of them are still customers today, more than 30 years later a record of loyalty and success rarely encountered in the broadcast media.

 

Radio Services

 

WSBA in York, PA, made AccuWeather its weather source largely in response to our success forecasting the floods from tropical storm Agnes for WSBA's sister station, WARM. AccuWeather meteorologists predicted devastating flooding in Wilkes Barre, PA, before the National Weather Service issued warnings. Until that time, warnings were based only on precipitation that had already fallen. AccuWeather based its forecasts on observed plus additional predicted rainfall amounts, a procedure later incorporated into NWS operations. WINS in New York City (now the most-listened-to radio station in the United States) was another early radio customer.

 

In AccuWeathers early days, radio broadcasts were transmitted over ordinary telephone lines out of a carpeted closet that was converted into a studio. Today, all broadcasts originate in one of our 19 digitally-equipped broadcast studios, and most stations receive live reports via digital lines, with recorded forecasts transmitted over the internet as MP3 or WAV files.

 

Television Systems and Services

 

AccuWeathers participation in the television marketplace has been marked by a long history of innovation. In 1975, AccuWeather was the first to introduce seven-day local forecasts for television, and we began offering ready-for-air color television weather graphics in 1983. In 1986, AccuWeather began satellite delivery of ready-for-air satellite, radar and weather graphics. AccuWeather became a full-fledged video production facility in 1998, when it added video uplink, studio, and control room capability supporting WeatherTeam Live video programming.

In the late 1980s, AccuWeathers television offerings were expanded to include graphics systems, beginning with the introduction of the Amiga Weather Graphics System in 1987. In 1989, AccuWeather introduced UltraGraphix, a solution for ultra-high spatial and color resolution in ready-for-air graphics. It was followed in 1992 by the UltraGraphix Animator, based upon PC technology. In 1995, AccuWeather introduced VirtualWeather FlyThru® animations, now a staple of television weather presentations. 1996 saw the debut of the SGI-based UltraGraphix ULTRA Weather System, which won the prestigious "NAB Pick-of-Show" award for "advancement in the art and science of television broadcast. The UltraGraphix ULTRA was in turn supplanted in 2001 by the Galileo® Weather System, the industrys first PC-based high-end professional weather graphics system. Galileos speed, ease of use and eye-catching graphics quickly propelled it to a record pace for adoption by television stations.

 

Along with our graphics systems, we have offered television stations a series of specialized devices and services. The FirstWarn Screencrawler, introduced in 1992 and subsequently enhanced several times, offers television stations a platform to quickly air critical watch and warning information, while the FirstWarn Neighborhood Doppler, introduced in 1999, offers stations the best value in a street-level, storm-tracker radar system. AccuWeather's latest television graphics offering is SelectWarn®, which offers the most meaningful high-impact street level visuals for severe weather and geo-hazards, including flooding and earthquakes.

AccuWeather began to supply turnkey weather solutions to cable channels in 1996, with the introduction of Local Cable Weather. This is also the system that was utilized by PennDOT at welcome areas and rest stops on major highways throughout the Commonwealth. Significantly enhanced in 2000 as Local Digital Weather, the system was soon on the air as the Local AccuWeather Channel for WFMZ-TV. In 2003, AccuWeather posted yet another milestone as the first vendor to provide native high definition weather via our Local Digital Weather HD system and service. This new technology went on air immediately with Cablevisions VOOM direct broadcast satellite network.

In 2005 AccuWeather introduced 24/7 local weather channels for television stations and other customers under the name Local AccuWeather Channel. These new channels included video and graphics from AccuWeather and/or the television stations, with a separate video window and an L-bar consisting of three graphic windows. The ABC Television Group became the first group to sign up for this service, on August 31, 2005.

 

Newspaper Services

 

AccuWeatherwhich first began to serve newspapers in 1974has led the way in applying technology to the production of newspaper weather presentations. In 1983, AccuWeather began transmitting weather data and text directly to newspapers' type-setting computers, and AccuWeather pioneered the electronic delivery of complete weather pages for newspapers in 1986 with its MacWeather® service, the first electronic delivery of any kind of page to newspapers. In 1987, AccuWeather introduced electronic color newspaper weather pages, the first color pages of any kind transmitted to newspapers. After 1991, these pages were transmitted directly to newspapers' front-end printing systems.

By the end of the 1990s, AccuWeather was the undisputed market leader in supplying newspaper weather pages to newspapers who outsourced their weather presentation.

 

Early Online Services

 

AccuWeather has excelled since its earliest days in the application of successive generations of technology to the delivery of weather information. For example, in 1972, AccuWeather introduced the transmission of weather graphics by telecopier, the first primitive fax machines. Subsequent delivery vehicles have included electronic bulletin boards, pagers, wireless devices, the Internet, email, FTP download, cell phones, and satellite deliveryeach an example of AccuWeathers commitment to delivering customized, highly localized weather information in the format most useful to the customer.

AccuWeather was an early leader in utilizing digital distribution of weather information. In 1979, AccuWeather bought its first computer in order to automate the delivery of data and weather maps to our forecasters. We then realized that people and businesses with personal computers could access information via modem, and began to develop a state-of-the-art, computerized meteorological database for use by thousands of federal, state and local government agencies, businesses, aviators, educators, mariners, meteorologists, weather hobbyists, and other subscribers. As early as 1984, AccuWeather had introduced the AccuData® weather database, and AccuWeathers weather information became available on Trintex (the precursor to Prodigy, one of the two pioneering general-public databases) in 1986 and on CompuServe (the other pioneering database) in 1990.

In 1993, AccuWeather Forecaster access software and its use of AccuData® were named as one of the top 10 things to do with a computer by Discover Magazine. Along with the database, AccuWeather developed a program for education called OnLine With AccuWeather®, which included educational modules, teachers guides and student workbooks; and which won several awards as one of the nations top online curriculums. AccuData® is still used today by a number of AccuWeather customers, as well as serving as an infrastructure for portions of AccuWeathers intranet and internet sites.

 

Internet Weather

 

AccuWeather was first granted internet access in 1992, back when, in order to gain access, we first had to get letters of support from some of our federal government customers. We began to offer weather information over the internet in 1995, selling content to internet sites with the development of the AccuNet® and netWeather Internet services.

AccuWeather.com® first appeared on the internet as a free site in 1996 and was followed the next year by the introduction of our first premium site, and by the launch of AccuWeather.com Professional in 2003. Always an innovator in the communication of weather information, AccuWeather.com launched streaming video in 2000, followed by the AccuWeather.com Desktop bug in 2002, and a variety of gizmos in 2005. AccuWeathers unique content offerings, ranging from Hour-by-Hour forecasts for one million locations to RadarPlus® predictive radar, were soon being viewed on more than 1200 websites, with millions of unique users visiting AccuWeather.com itself each month. By late 2005, AccuWeather.com had served over five billion page views since the sites launch.

 

Wireless Weather

 

In 1997, AccuWeather introduced WeatherPager®, an alert service issued to pagers. AccuWeather continued to expand its offerings in the arena of proactive electronic notification with the addition of AccuWeather.com Alert email services in 2001.

 

AccuWeather began service to PDAs and cell phones in 2002 and, in 2003, AccuWeather's graphical weather content for wireless devices won the Best of Show award at Internet World Essentials. This technological and informational excellence soon propelled AccuWeather to the leading market position among wireless weather providers in the United States. Verizons V-CastSM service, introduced with ads in the 2005 Super Bowl, features AccuWeather as its exclusive weather provider. Today, AccuWeather content is available from nearly all of the major cell phone service providers, and we continue to innovate with services for new handsets, streaming video broadcasts, and enhancements to our existing services.

 

Specialized Commercial Services

 

Through the years, AccuWeather has also developed numerous forecasts geared to the specific needs of various niche and specialized users. For example, the company currently offers customized forecasts and warnings for utilities, highway departments, school districts, agriculture, boaters, hotels, construction, golf tournaments, emergency management agencies, and many more categories.

AccuWeather has a long history of innovation for transportation companies. Temperature band maps are now taken for granted, but these maps did not exist until AccuWeather developed them and sent them to trucking companies by telecopier in 1972. Later, AccuWeather introduced the first forecasts geared specifically to interstate highways and other major trucking routes.

 

Among the other important innovations developed for commercial customers were the Window of Movement display (now called Forecast Eye Path), developed in 1981 for our hurricane / tropical storm warning customers, and the first graphical representation of the forecast path of tropical storms. The AccuWeather Fax product, introduced in 1992, put the AccuWeather forecast on the front desks of 2,000 hotels across the country. 1-900-Weather, introduced by AccuWeather in 1989 under sponsorship of American Express, was the first weather forecast service that used audiotex technology, combining prerecorded words and phrases to create the audio forecasts. The version of this service we created for AccuWeather, AccuCall 2000, won the 1994 Golden Phone award as the best general news service available by telephone. In 2005, our innovative use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) was recognized with the first ESRI Special Achievement in GIS Award ever awarded to a weather company.

One of our important products, The AccuNet/AP® Multimedia Archive, is not related to weather, but was inspired by and a result of our relationship with The Associated Press and our history in serving educational institutions. With this service, we are the exclusive online provider of the APs photo, graphics, audio and text archives to universities, colleges, schools and libraries.

 

Innovative Weather Metrics

 

AccuWeather has been a leader in developing new weather metrics and communications tools to inform its customers about weather events. In 1994, AccuWeather introduced its current and forecast Ultraviolet (UV) Index, as the worlds first local UV Index available with current and hour-by-hour forecasts. In 1997, AccuWeather developed the patented Exclusive AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature. This year-round measure of how temperature is really perceived supersedes the outmoded and misleading wind chill and heat indices.

In 1997, AccuWeather also introduced 10-Day Hour-by-Hour forecasts for 55,000 cities, and subsequently extended this capability to fifteen days, with worldwide coverage for more than one million locations.

In 2002, AccuWeather invented the patent-pending AccuPOP, the first multi-period three-hour probability of precipitation, and in 2004 AccuWeather initiated the patent-pending StormRisc, a clear and succinct summary of severe weather threats.

 

In 2004, AccuWeather introduced new tropical weather symbols and terminology, in order to better convey to the public the potential hazard of tropical systems, even after they are downgraded from hurricanes and tropical storms. In 2005, AccuWeather introduced several new weather indices for specific advertisers, including the Arthritis Index and Flu Index.

 

International Services

 

AccuWeather served a small number of international customers in the 1970s, mainly Canadian radio stations and snow warning customers. Our international services have grown to the point where today we serve customers around the world, providing forecasts of weather and crop progress for agricultural commodities, worldwide energy usage forecasts, and forecasts for the worlds major ports and shipping areas. AccuWeather graphics systems and services are used by television stations from the Philippines to the Middle East to South America. We also provide weather pages for newspapers around the globe, and have added many newspaper customers in Canada and the U.K.

 

FIN

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