Reaching Your Audience: Baron Alerting and App Technology Enhances Severe Weather Coverage and Preparation
Earlier this year, the Tampa Bay area in Florida was devastated by a severe flooding event. Citizens were asked to vacate their homes, roads were impassable and the local weather team at Bay News 9 worked tirelessly to send out updates on the event. Throughout the floods, the station’s meteorologists connected with the public through their station’s mobile app, powered by Baron technology. “It really enhanced situational awareness,” said Mike Clay, Chief Meteorologist at Bay News 9. “During the worst days of flooding, our station was number one on-air…we got a lot of great feedback on our app.”
Bay News 9’s success is reflective of a growing trend; mobile app usage is becoming the primary means of ingesting valuable content. According to a 2015 study by Morgan Stanley Research, the majority of consumers use mobile devices over desktop, and the number continues to grow. People are relying on mobile content over web content—a trend that mirrors the transition from television to web a few years ago. More importantly, consumers are preferring apps over mobile web content. Data from Nielsen on mobile media shows users spend an average of 89 percent of media time on mobile apps, compared to 11 percent on mobile web content. Apps are becoming the ideal way of reaching an audience.
Sharing Critical Weather Intelligence
The Baron white label app includes a suite of comprehensive weather data, as well as proximity alerting technology. Bay News 9, like many other stations, have used the Baron app to create their own fully functional station app that’s branded to match their look, and synced with RSS feeds to share information like traffic updates, sports and politics.
However, some stations already have a successful app in place and only lack the ability to add critical weather intelligence into its functionality. That’s where the Baron Software Developer Kit (SDK) comes into play.
Enhancing Existing Apps
For some stations, integrating weather data into an existing app is more efficient than creating an entirely new one. The Baron SDK makes this process possible. “Some stations are heavily invested in an existing app, but they want high-quality weather data and alerting,” said Sherman Wilcox, Software Development Manager at Baron. “Stations can easily integrate Baron data and alerting into their existing apps, all without having to do any complicated development work.”
With the Baron SDK, app developers can insert a library of Baron capabilities directly into their mobile app project with very little work, so there’s no need to design something new. It also allows stations to add live radar data without any additional development work. It makes integrating powerful weather data a quick and simple process.
Reaching an Audience with Advance Alerts
Baron Safety Net Alerts use storm tracking technology to provide specific notifications to subscribers in specified areas. Only users that are affected receive the proximity alerts. Notifications are automatically generated and can follow up to eight locations defined by the user—plus their current location.
“The alerts are only sent to subscribers in the storm’s path,” said Andy Lindberg, Software Engineer and meteorologist at Baron. “This prevents users from receiving unnecessary warnings and becoming numb to severe weather alerts. When you receive an alert from Baron, it means you are directly in the path of weather.”
SDK customers can also access alert analytics. This allows them to break down the alerts sent to users by market. The alert analytics can be separated into several categories:
- Platform (iOS or Android)
- Alert type (tornado, thunderstorm, etc.)
- Number of alerts read
- Number of alerts sent
- Total subscribers per platform
- Total subscribers per alert type
Many of the alert types are exclusive to Baron app subscribers. “We have a lot of exclusive data that stations can share with its audience—Baron Tornado Index, Twisting Storm Alerts, Storm in Area—those are all algorithms that Baron developed to be triggered by our storm vectors,” said Lindberg. “We also have a lot of new alert types that we will be bringing in soon, like new winter alerts. We are even developing some custom alerting that was requested by our customers. Baron is able to provide them with a unique solution that works for them.”
For more information on Baron Automated Weather Alerting, click here.
Read more about Baron Mobile and Tablet Apps here.