The Met Office launch unique new project with Sunderland Software Centre

Left to right: David Dunn, Chief Executive of Sunderland Software City, Richard Adlington, Project Lead, Transport Systems Catapult, John Hirst, Chief Executive, Met Office and Maurizio Pilu, Partnerships Director, Connected Digital Economy Catapult.
Left to right: David Dunn, Chief Executive of Sunderland Software City; Richard Adlington, Project Lead, Transport Systems Catapult; John Hirst, Chief Executive, Met Office and Maurizio Pilu, Partnerships Director, Connected Digital Economy Catapult.

The Met Office have launched a unique project with Sunderland Software City, which will see never-before released weather data being opened to the region’s software companies for the first time.

The chief executive of the Met Office, John Hirst CBE, was at the Sunderland Software Centre today to release the Integrated Transport and Weather Information Pilot (ITWIP).

ITWIP marks the first time this range of Met Office meteorological data has been released to an audience for commercial development, as well as marking the first time two catapult centres – newly established national, independent research, development and innovation centres – have worked together on a project.

It is a unique project exploring opportunities to develop usable software applications and technology solutions on the back of big data sources and is being piloted in the North East due to the skill and resources of the region’s software sector.

The project is open to any North East based software company who are or are interested in developing bespoke solutions, weather, transport or logistical solutions or are experienced in managing and utilising big data sets.

Mr Hirst and his team presented Met Office data sets to an audience made up of some of the region’s most innovative software businesses and discussed the importance of the project, which has been developed in partnership with the Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC) and Transport Systems Catapult (TSC).

Met Office Chief Executive Mr Hirst said: “The Instant Weather initiative was established by the Met Office and the Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC) to provide real time information for decision making.

“The aim is to encourage SMEs and others to use data and information in new and innovative ways to generate new products and services, making sure this data is used is an important part of our strategy.

“The ITWIP project is a really important pioneer in using this data.”

David Dunn, CEO of Sunderland Software City, said: “The ITWIP project is a long term effort to facilitate collaboration between innovative software companies and end users with real business needs; companies who can achieve greater efficiencies or productivity through the use of new technology, systems or intelligence services.

“The project has been developed in collaboration with internationally recognised experts in big data and transport systems and mobility management from both CDEC and TSC respectively.

“Bringing these centres of excellence together, along with never-before available Met Office data, makes this a nationally important project and a truly unique opportunity for Software SME’s in the North East to enter new markets and sell innovative solutions that are in demand from large, international organisations.“

Along with weather data a number of other partners including Nexus, the Port of Tyne and Sunderland Council have made data available for software businesses to utilise and explore technology solutions for the transport and logistics industry.

The event was also attended by potential buyers from some of the UK’s biggest transport and logistics companies including Stagecoach Buses, the RAC and First TransPennine Express.

Representatives from both Catapult centres presented at the event, providing details of ongoing support being made available to software companies to turn their ideas into fully commercial solutions.#####

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