By Alex Gutman
(See Alex’s BIO on the Contributing Authors Page)
Note: Nooly won third place in IsraelStartupNetwork’s Recent Pitch-Fest, held in cooperation with Blumberg Capital.
Nothing can be done about the weather they say. Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it. That may have been true. BN (Before Nooly).
The year. 2000. The idea for Nooly was spawned in the depths. The depths of Yaron Reich's mind and the Hong Kong subway system. In Hong Kong, rain is something that just...happens....over 300 days a year. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through Hong Kong station every day. The way up to the street is via a single escalator that ends at the sidewalk through a narrow exit. If it rains, you'll be soaked when your escalator ride ends and the shoving crowds eventually push you onto the puddly sidewalk. An umbrella is useless in those downpours. Lots of wet suits out there, but no surf boards. A torrential downpour is never out of the question. The in of the question is when exactly?
The subway concourse is like an underground city: copy shops, coffee shops, smoke shops. One afternoon, Yaron was preparing to exit Hong Kong station after purchasing a new digital camera. The second he neared the escalator, he was caught up in a mob of thousands of people trying to get on that single escalator that spit commuters out through that narrow exit. Yaron and the thousands of others were clueless as to what the weather was like on the non-climate-controlled street. So, Yaron wondered, pondered, dreamt a bit. What if he created a system that empowered people to know what the weather will be like in a particular area, to the minute? What if someone could see what was in store outside before they went (or were shoved)...Outside. What makes Yaron's drive in conceiving Nooly so visionary was the year. 2000. In the world of mobile gadgetry, the ideas for such technologies as Iphone, Blackberry were in their infancy at best. People thought of the mobile phone exclusively as a voice and text device. No one thought anything more would come of it. See the weather as it happens? When it happens? Right here? Right now? No way. Well...WAY...
Yaron saw people's phones as these mini location-based personal devices which carried a very high level of personalization. And ones that are always connected to the internet (before 3G was invented). So, Yaron thought: What if people can know what the weather is like to the minute in a specific location? In the palms of their hand. Right here. Right now. Getting soaked when being pushed out of the Hong Kong Subway wouldn't need to be a reality. The reality in someone’s Nooly world would be passing and sipping the time away with a cappuccino at one of the many shops in the Subway concourse, reading a book on a DRY bench; just waiting for the Nooly-provided time for the rain's end.
Contact: Yaron Reich, yaron2010 at gmail dot com, www.nooly.com
After returning to Israel and working for a company, he tried experimenting with different algorithms and came up with a solution very similar to WeatherBug. WeatherBug employs over 10,000 weather stations to track weather. They spent millions of dollars on this venture. While WeatherBug used brute cash force, Nooly decided they were going to use brute brain force. Together with the now two co-founders of Nooly, Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld, Nooly Chief Scientist, a Professor at the Hebrew University - and Professor John R. Mecikalski, currently an Associate Professor in the Atmospheric Science Department at the University of Alabama in Hunstville, they are making waves (no pun intended) with their ability to predict the weather anywhere for any time with high accuracy. Not only tell it, but Predict it.
Professor Rosenfeld is the mastermind behind the Nooly Technology. His solution is based on remote sensing using radar and satellites. Nooly utilizes two Satellites as two points in the sky acting as camera eyes over all of North America. The solution does not need thousands of devices like WeatherBug. Raw radar weather information from more than 260 radar stations is relayed to Nooly via a joint project with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) and the NOAA Office of Climate, Water, and Weather Services (OCWSS), as well as universities. The radar data was originally gathered and processed by NOAA to improve river forecasts, flood and flash flood watches and warnings. Nooly processes the raw data using its own algorithms. Both scientists are involved with NASA, NOAA and the European Space Agency – EUMETSAT, so I guess you can call them weather aficionados.
Nooly received the patents for their weather vision in 2007 and now has 6 people on their staff, including both scientists. At the moment, Nooly is only available in beta mode as a web application.
But, things are moving ahead faster than a bolt of lightning. It doesn't stop with just knowing the weather. Now, for the fun, cool stuff. On a certain level, the weather factors in to many of our daily lives. Weather is one of the most searched terms on the Internet and impacts billions worldwide. Nooly doesn't want billions. The company wants the collective community of hundreds of millions around the world where the weather impacts daily activities, such as when can I walk my dog and not get back a soggy mess and have to towel dry myself and blow dry my dog? Where are the golf courses in my area with 0% chance of rain? Do I need to shlep this umbrella with me everywhere? Students who spend hours scouring the internet for a research paper on the history from thousands of years ago, cannot even get weather conditions as they are NOW that impact their lives. Is the soccer field going to be soggy? Do I need to bring my rain-repellent jacket? Working men and women may wonder: what is the drive home going to be like? Maybe if I leave the office later, there will be less traffic. The weather will no longer be a mystery. Nooly brings it from the unknown to the known. Everyone will have his or her own personalized weatherman giving them personalized weather tips based on their daily and nightly activities and hobbies. Now, how cool is that? Hold on. It gets cooler.
In the works is something Yaron has dubbed the Weather Pending Advertising platform, which works much like targeted banner ads, and serves you ads based on your personal profile, location and the weather. Say you have in your profile that you'll be in Colorado on Sunday, March 13th. The weather will be in the high 80s and clear. You might just get served an ad from a Paragliding operator with a special deal for the whole family. A dinner at a Salad/Steakhouse, half price off at a local juice bar. Say you're in NYC in December and it's snowing and icy. Out of the blue, you’re served an ad for a wine special at an east village wine bar by the fireplace. 20 minutes later you’re served wine in a cozy bar.
Navigation on your wireless device will be a snap. No scrolling down needed. These ads will be targeted to you and tailored to the type of device you own and the weather you are experiencing.
Nooly is not only a weather application. Nooly info will be served to users within a wide variety of Location Base Services (LBS) and applications. Say you have season tickets to the Yankees … when you check the schedule on Major League Baseball's website or an app, a Nooly icon will appear with weather info based on the exact time and location of the game, letting you know if it is better to take the umbrella (or a rain parka) along. Or your suntan lotion.
As a short-term weather platform, Nooly is busy integrating with weather service providers to add value to their location-based services and applications.
All this information is patented. And with many years of research and brute brain force behind it, Nooly might have singlehandedly shot down this famous statement by Alice Hoffman:
When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.
Well, now ya can. Be sure. With Nooly.
Contact: Yaron Reich, yaron2010 at gmail dot com, www.nooly.com