It’s raining APIs: How AccuWeather shares data with developers using Apigee

Editor’s note: We’re hearing today from AccuWeather, the popular weather data provider. The company has evolved into a digital business through the years, and the company’s APIs are essential to what it offers. Here’s how AccuWeather uses Google’s Apigee API management platform to make it all work smoothly.

Since AccuWeather was founded in 1962, our company has become the world’s leading provider of weather forecasts and warnings. We maintain a huge, accurate and comprehensive collection of weather warning data.

Back then, we brought data to local forecasts, newspapers, radio stations and small businesses. While we started by putting pen to paper and providing solutions to business customers, AccuWeather has really evolved into a digital platform over the past decade. This entire transformation was powered by APIs. We are extremely proud of how broadly our enterprise APIs are used. They provide life-saving weather information and warnings to major companies worldwide, including nine out of the 10 major smartphone OEMs, IoT producers, and others in some of the world’s biggest industries, including more than half of Fortune 500 companies and thousands more globally.

You can see more about AccuWeather’s APIs in this short documentary:

Youtube video AccuWeather: Forecasting New Developer Audiences with Apigee

Bringing weather data to new audiences

We faced an interesting challenge when we moved to expand our reach and engage new audiences, especially small- to mid-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, individual developers, and students. We knew a long onboarding process wouldn’t work for these developers, and we knew we had to make it easy for these developers to access our APIs quickly without a lot of overhead.

Increasingly, these prospective customers needed an easy, frictionless and automated sign-up process to evaluate and integrate our APIs as quickly as possible into the applications they are developing. To facilitate that innovation and development, we needed to give developers fast, simple, and cost-effective access to AccuWeather’s unique weather data. We source our global data in real time from multiple sources, both public and private, and blend it in our Global Forecast System with custom software algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. That’s then combined with the experience of more than 100 operational meteorologists to generate detailed, accurate, and localized forecasts. That data has been proven most accurate in the weather industry for the past three years in an independent study.

Building a developer portal

To give these smaller, specialized audiences access to all this weather data, we began partnering with Google’s Apigee to use its API management solutions to expand our reach.

We built the AccuWeather API Developer Portal, which provides turnkey package options so developers can access detailed global weather forecasts and warnings on the Apigee platform.

Apigee’s monetization module was a key selling point for AccuWeather. This allowed us to package our APIs into set products, which enables developers to purchase our APIs (or test them for free), so they can tailor their API consumption to their specific needs. Since AccuWeather offers so many types of data, and many variations of specific data, these API packages let developers and small businesses pick and choose data content as they need it. Data points include extended forecasts or specific forecast periods like hourly or daily.

The analytics capabilities offered by Apigee have helped us customize our API products to the needs of developers by revealing traffic patterns and making sure users get weather data when and how they want it to best achieve their desired outcomes. Using these traffic patterns, we can see which developers are most active, which APIs are most heavily used, what time of day people look at the weather, what clients are growing fast and which ones may need more support. This lets us be proactive to continue building useful products.

What’s next for AccuWeather and Apigee

We have been thrilled with the results. Since partnering with Apigee and launching the AccuWeather API Developer Portal in May 2017, we have watched the number of developers who have signed up to use our APIs grow to more than 60,000.

We’re now reaching important new developer audiences who are exploring ways to incorporate our troves of weather data into their own applications. We’re excited to make our APIs available to more developers—any of whom might be working on the next big thing. Innovation has a better chance to bubble up with the right tools, and the AccuWeather API Developer Portal, powered by Apigee, provides the right recipe to inspire developers to produce something powerful and innovative.