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AccuWeather Acquires Plume Labs

Acquisition combines global weather leader’s award-winning forecasts, warnings, insights, digital capabilities with Plume Labs’ industry-leading air pollution data, products, and expertise

AccuWeather Global Weather Center, Global weather and digital media leader AccuWeather  announced it has acquired Paris-based environmental technology company Plume Labs® for an undisclosed amount, effective immediately. The deal is AccuWeather’s 15th acquisition since its founding 59 years ago.  AccuWeather integrated the company in January 2022 and the deal was closed in December of 2021.

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Plume Labs is best known for empowering people and organizations around the world with the most accurate air quality maps and data globally thanks to its industry-leading AI/ML air pollution forecasts and its Flow® device, the award-winning personal air pollution sensor.

Plume Labs will continue to operate within the AccuWeather group as its center for climate and environmental data, to work on scaling up its ambitions to save lives by bringing its air quality forecasts to the 1.5 billion people AccuWeather reaches around the world and expanding its focus beyond air quality by applying Plume Labs’ AI technology to a broader range of environmental risks, from climate to wildfires. The Plume Labs acquisition will also accelerate AccuWeather’s investments in AI for weather predictions, a critical area of research to make forecasts ever more accurate for a changing climate.

Plume Labs pioneered the air quality forecasting industry by advancing geospatial machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to map and predict air pollution. It provides the most accurate data with the broadest coverage, with current conditions and forecasts for the entire world at a market-leading resolution of 0.2 to 2 kms, down to street level in U.S. and European urban areas.  The Plume Labs data platform computes 70 billion data points every hour, to report current levels of particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground level ozone (O3), forecasts for the next 168 hours (7 days), and local air quality index (AQI) levels to map the real-time health risks from air pollution around the world.

AccuWeather and Plume Labs commenced a successful partnership in January 2020 as air pollution emerged as an increasingly prevalent problem globally, integrating Plume’s superior air pollution data into AccuWeather forecasts initially up to 96 hours (4 days) ahead, to make air pollution information and insights accessible and empowering for AccuWeather’s growing digital audience. At the time, AccuWeather announced it held a part ownership stake in Plume Labs, further demonstrating its confidence in the company and the quality and importance of its data.

“The integration of Plume Labs’ data and insights into AccuWeather’s digital properties marked an important moment for the AccuWeather user base and community, introducing an enhanced layer of relevant everyday insights as another data point to help people make the best health and wellness decisions possible, alongside the Superior Accuracy™ of AccuWeather forecasts,” said Steven R. Smith, AccuWeather President. “Plume Labs has been a valued partner over the last several years, and we are thrilled to merge our respective core competencies in what we know will be a major step forward for innovation within our industry resulting in more healthful choices for people.”

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Plume Labs also brought to market the first connected personal air pollution sensor, the Flow device. The Flow air pollution sensor device measures concentrations of both polluting gases (nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds) and particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5 and PM10). It helps individuals track and understand their exposure to air pollution indoors and outdoors, how it affects their health and wellness, and how to take action to reduce that exposure. Plume Labs customers, including world-class businesses, leading academic institutions, and international organizations deployed the Flow device in 74 countries around the world. The company received industry accolades for its category-defining invention, including a CES Innovation Award 2017 and a Red Dot Design Award 2019, and ranked among Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in consumer hardware in 2019.

Air pollution levels change dramatically over time and space—five to eight times within a city block, and even more indoors than outside. Having the right information at the right time makes it possible to avoid dangerous pollutants. Simple actions like opening a window while cooking, taking a different route to work, or delaying a run by a few hours have been shown to reduce personal exposure by as much as 90 percent. Reduced exposure can save lives and improve health for the 92 percent of the world population that is chronically exposed to poor air quality according to the World Health Organization (WHO); WHO estimates that ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year, and 100,000 to 200,000 in the U.S. alone, mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children.

“Air quality plays an intrinsic role in AccuWeather’s mission of saving lives and helping people prosper, and this acquisition will help us provide users and customers with an even more personalized experience as well as a 360-degree understanding of the impact of weather on their wellness. Our exclusive alliance delivered on the promise to help put our users in greater control of their health, and we are committed to that goal even more firmly with this new strategic direction,” added Smith.

“Seven years ago, David Lissmyr and I launched Plume Labs to make air quality information accessible to everyone,” said Romain Lacombe, Founder and CEO of Plume Labs. “Since then, our work has helped galvanize the fight for clean air by making the health impact of climate change personal. Joining forces with AccuWeather now is an extraordinary opportunity to amplify our impact at planetary scale and help 1.5 billion people avoid air pollution around the world.”

AccuWeather’s superiority in weather forecasting and communicating the impacts of weather to benefit the public, business and communities is indisputable; AccuWeather holds 174 unique patents and has more than 45 patent applications pending. The company has made significant advancements in many scientific fields and has developed thousands of other innovations and intellectual property, many of which have received awards. The integration of Plume Labs world-class air pollution data into AccuWeather’s digital assets is another step forward in that leadership with more innovations and advances on the horizon.

“We are particularly proud of what our team of engineers, atmospheric scientists and innovators have created over the past seven years,” said David Lissmyr, Founder and CTO of Plume Labs. “Our drive to push the boundaries of air pollution research and development has found a new home that will help us grow and meet the challenges ahead.”

The acquisition of Plume Labs’ best and most accurate air quality data marks another expansion of AccuWeather’s global capabilities, including Huafeng-AccuWeather, its joint venture in China, and Sky Motion Research in Canada.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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