Tuesday, January 19, 2021   |   Critical Weather, Public Safety

Improving Public Outreach for Growing Meteorological Organizations

For any meteorological organization, effectively communicating forecasts, alerts, and warnings to the citizens of the nation it serves is a top priority, especially during developing weather. Delivering timely and actionable information to the public enables people to take the actions necessary to protect their lives and property before a dangerous weather event.

Today and in the future, an important and efficient way to reach people is on their cell phone. According to a report by the World Advertising Research Center, approximately two billion people worldwide access the internet exclusively via their smartphone. By 2025 that number is expected to jump to 3.7 billion people, or 73% percent of internet users. The appeal of the smartphone is obvious, they provide easy, around the clock access to the latest information.

For organizations responsible for delivering weather information, the need to have a strategy to maximize their mobile reach is clear. Fortunately, there are several options for delivering informative and engaging weather content on a smartphone. At HydrometCARIBBEAN, Baron Representative Brian Bellew highlighted the following advantages of each of those options in a presentation to international meteorological organization attendees.

 

Brian Bellew presenting at HydrometCARIBBEAN

Radar imagery on a website using the Baron web widget

Mobile-responsive Website

A mobile-responsive website is one effective way to distribute information on a smartphone or tablet. A website offers access to weather info through a web-browser without having to download anything onto a device. Websites are versatile, one version will work across all platforms. There are no limitations to the amount of data you can include on your website.

Baron has the tools to add more effective and easier to maintain weather elements to your website. Our web widget will automatically populate your site with current and forecasted weather content along with radar imagery, ensuring you will always deliver fresh and accurate information online.

 

Mobile App

Mobile apps are the most popular way for smartphone users to consume data. Apps account for more than 90% percent of time spent on the internet with a smartphone. Designed specifically for smartphones and tablets, apps typically have a more user-friendly design. They can utilize other features on a phone or tablet to create a more interactive experience. Users can customize apps to automatically display the information they want to see.

A weather alert delivered with the Baron AppBaron offers a white label weather app that includes current conditions, forecasts, and more, plus it can incorporate your local data and radar images. The app interface can be customized with your organization’s logos and style.

The Baron app will also improve your ability to quickly distribute critical information to communities in harm’s way during a severe weather event. Geo-fencing technology allows for custom push notifications to be sent to users in manually defined areas.

With the Baron app, data can go both ways. Users can take photos with the camera on their phone or tablet and upload them, so they are visible within your organization, a valuable feature for disaster response or verification of an event.

Social Media

A social media post using a Baron Lynx imageMeteorological organizations need to use social media to maximize their reach. In 2020, 3.8 billion people used a social media platform, nearly 60% of the world’s population. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are easy to use, interactive, and allow you to reach the public on mobile devices and computers.

Sharing information on your social media accounts is easy with WeatherShare, a feature included in Baron Lynx, our advanced forecaster workstation. WeatherShare allows users to publish posts that include graphics, images, and videos directly to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Grab their attention

When delivering critical weather information, the content must stand out. Social media posts, webpages, and app content need attention-grabbing visuals; simple text and forecast numbers won’t cut it. People process and remember visual information better than text. Videos, images, and graphics will get your weather information significantly more views and engagement.

Video

A video being produced using the Baron Weather Producer

Video is a powerful medium for delivering up to the minute information that holds people’s attention. Internet users overwhelmingly prefer watching videos over reading text.

The Baron Weather Producer makes producing and sharing informative weather videos easy using a webcam and Baron Lynx. Weather Producer allows users to switch between different maps, images, and more, and utilize picture-in-picture functionality for professional-looking content that can be posted directly to social media, webpages, and the Baron app.

Click here to see The Weather Network in Canada live-stream nearly four hours of severe thunderstorm coverage on Facebook using Baron Lynx.

The Weather Network live streaming on Facebook using Baron Lynx

Images

On top of being a single solution for forecasters to analyze weather data and make predictions, Baron Lynx is a powerful graphics engine. Graphics and images produced in Lynx are a great tool for telling visually striking weather stories that stand out from the noise.

Images produced in Baron Lynx