Global Office Boosts Frost Forecasting Business

28 July 2020

WeatherStation

After teaming up with Christchurch software development company, Global Office, weather forecaster James Morrison has been providing faster, more accurate frost predictions with huge benefits for New Zealand’s multi billion dollar wine and horticulture industries.

Morrison’s company, Weatherstation, specialises in spring and autumn frost forecasting for horticulture and viticulture enterprises across New Zealand, giving his clients advance warning so that they can minimise frost damage. He says the information he provides for vineyards, for example, can mean the difference between a good year and a bad one. “One unpredicted cold snap in spring has the potential to wipe out a large proportion of wine production for the year.”

Before working with Global Office, Morrison would use online data, a spreadsheet and manual calculations to produce weather predictions. Once he had made a forecast for a particular area, a text would be sent to local clients. Recognising the potential for technology to help him streamline his work, he sought financial support from Ngāi Tahu, Poutama Trust and Te Puni Kōkiri, before approaching Global Office for their expertise.

His ultimate aim was to grow the business to the point he could employ a small team to support him. Morrison also wanted to be able to use the business to encourage young Māori people into science and technology.

Global Office Chief Executive Nick Witteman says his company first looked at the data that was being captured and pulled it into an improved format. “We were also able to make data from past forecasts more accessible, providing James with more information for future forecasting,” he says. The team then set out to help Weatherstation streamline its communication to clients. “A secure portal was established so that clients could login and view their forecasts online. The next step will be to develop software that will pull data from the 15 individual weather stations that Weatherstation has installed across the country.”

“Our niche is providing weather advice for growers in specific parts of regions such as Hawke’s Bay, the Wairarapa, Nelson/Marlborough, North Canterbury and Central Otago. New Zealand’s highly variable weather means that conditions can change between one valley and the next. To be effective, we have to be highly accurate and timely with our forecasts, which we can be even more confident about now.”

“Global Office have sped things up so that we can work more efficiently and I am now in a better place to take advantage of other technology. I really like the way they have focused on how to make the business work better.” Morrison says.
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