Weather Direct Brings Hyper Local Forecasts to Businesses

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

For construction firms, landscaping contractors, amusement parks, charter boats and many other businesses, the question “How’s the weather?” can dictate the events of the day. Lacrosse Technology helps the channel answer that question and score some revenue at the same time.

Many of us have come to take the weather for granted, needing only to know if gloves or an umbrella are needed before venturing outdoors, but a multitude of businesses depend on accurate weather forecasting to plan the day and even the week ahead.

Take for example a firm that delivers heating oil. Automatic deliveries are based upon a degree day calculation, which correlates to average daily temperatures. Those firms rely on accurate weather information to make sure their customers' oil tanks don't run dry. Landscaping and construction firms need the same kind of information too, because weather directly affects job scheduling. With that in mind, Lacrosse Technology has launched Weather Direct -- an Internet-connected device that uses satellite-assisted forecasting to delivery highly accurate local weather forecasts, automatically.

There are several different Weather Direct Models and add on accessories. For most users the WD-3209U four day wireless forecast station which retails for $149.00, is a good starting point. The WD-3209U comes as a bundle, which includes a wireless transmitter, remote temperature sensors and the wireless LCD forecast station. The wireless components are operative over a 915Mhz radio frequency, preventing interference with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless technologies. Additional sensors and displays can be added as needed to the system.

Solution providers shouldn’t expect to get rich selling Weather Direct components and systems, the items are all relatively low cost and easy to setup. The idea for solution providers here is to offer Weather Direct products as peripherals and then extend the integration to include automated weather alerts (via text messaging or email), automated voice alerts, severe weather warnings and so on. In other words, a Weather Direct system can be a nifty add-on to a networking project.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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