AccuWeather Helps Brands Get Ahead of the Flu with Application of Virginia Tech's EpiCaster Outbreak Projections

November 28, 2017; 1:12 PM

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Best-in-class EpiCaster data enables AccuWeather to deliver personalized information to people weeks before flu outbreaks affect their location.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center -- November 28, 2017 -- AccuWeather, the largest and fastest growing source of weather forecasts and warnings as well as a global leader of digital media and weather-related big data, today announced an agreement with the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech.

The agreement enables AccuWeather to leverage EpiCaster forecast data to deliver contextually relevant information to people in parts of the U.S. where the EpiCaster tool indicates flu outbreaks are likely -- more than three weeks in advance of outbreak occurrences. This collaboration will allow AccuWeather and institute researchers to map locations where flu outbreaks are more likely, benefitting AccuWeather app users and helping individuals and families take precautions during seasonal flu outbreaks.

Prior to this arrangement, when no predictive intelligence was available, brands were limited to targeting regions already experiencing an outbreak. Now, due to this unique agreement, brands may partner with AccuWeather to deliver messages to consumers in U.S. counties weeks before a flu outbreak is predicted to hit based on the scientifically proven EpiCaster forecast.

AccuWeather is the #1 mobile weather website in the world, and the Superior Accuracy(tm) of the company's weather forecasts and warnings was recently confirmed in the most comprehensive study of forecast accuracy ever undertaken. AccuWeather has an expansive cross-platform reach that no other publisher provides, reaching nearly 2 billion people globally. The company's targeted, solution-based campaigns maximize the exclusive benefits of AccuWeather's massive audience across award-winning mobile applications, web, mobile web, radio, television, newspapers, connected TVs, place-based media, and more.

"This innovative, strategic partnership between AccuWeather and Virginia Tech enables brands to reach customers with relevant messages to offer contextually relevant information to help inform their decisions before the flu's impact begins," said Eric Danetz, Global Chief Revenue Officer of AccuWeather. "Using the most accurate flu predictions to deliver helpful, targeted information further enhances AccuWeather's unique capability to help brands deliver the optimal message that is timely, specific, and more likely to be positively received."

Researchers originally developed EpiCaster on the Biocomplexity Institute's high-performance computing clusters to help guide the U.S. government's response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The disease surveillance and forecast platform uses a rigorously tested methodology documented in several articles published by peer-reviewed journals, including Epidemics and BMC Infectious Diseases.

"EpiCaster provides highly reliable predictions of how epidemics are likely to evolve and spread, based on sophisticated disease surveillance and epidemic simulations that process vast amounts of data from a wide array of sources," said Madhav Marathe, Professor of Computer Science and a lab director of The Biocomplexity Institute, who played a key role in developing the system. EpiCaster is currently used by many U.S. state and local governments, as well as many federal agencies.

"With EpiCaster, AccuWeather can project where outbreaks are likely to occur over three weeks in advance, with a high degree of reliability," said Scott Sameroff, Director of Business Development for Digital at AccuWeather. "This gives brands and agencies a unique and timely opportunity to boost consumer awareness in affected regions, just as individuals and families begin looking for season flu-related items, including tissues, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter remedies."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, influenza activity in the U.S. often begins to increase in October and peaks between December and February, although seasonal flu activity can last as late as May. Between 1982 and 2016, flu activity most often peaked in February

AccuWeather delivers weather forecasts and warnings with well-documented Superior Accuracy. In the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of forecast accuracy, an independent analysis of over 30 million forecasts by industry tracker ForecastWatch concluded that AccuWeather had the highest level of accuracy in all three categories it verified, temperature, precipitation and wind. By providing the most accurate forecasts and warnings, AccuWeather helps save more lives, keeps more people safe, and helps companies plan more effectively in all weather conditions.

To learn more about advertising with AccuWeather, visit www.AccuWeather.com/MediaKit.

About the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech

The Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech strives to overcome today's challenges in human health, security, and sustainability by focusing on information biology, using high-performance computers to translate complex biological data into actionable knowledge. The institute does this by adapting to the ever-changing research environment by investing in the best people and resources; creating transdisciplinary teams of experts that span the globe; and seizing opportunities to push science forward by inventing cutting-edge tools and sharing them. Founded as the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute in 2000, the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech has grown from its roots in plant pathology to a vibrant research institute spanning a multitude of disciplines including network dynamics, high-performance computing, and genomics research. The institute regularly conducts research through federal, state and industry grants and contracts that total more than $120 million in active awards, and has garndered some of the largest awards in Virginia Tech history. Its work has been used to sequence the genomes of many organisms. The institute also has been called upon to aid in public health crises and strategic planning around the globe.

About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com

Nearly 2 billion people worldwide rely on AccuWeather to help them plan their lives, protect their businesses, and get more from their day. AccuWeather provides hourly and Minute by Minute(tm) forecasts with Superior Accuracy(tm) with customized content and engaging video presentations available on smartphones, tablets, free wired and mobile Internet sites, connected TVs, and Internet appliances, as well as via radio, television, and newspapers. Established in 1962 by Founder, President, and Chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers -- a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society who was recognized as one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur Magazine's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs -- AccuWeather also delivers a wide range of highly customized enterprise solutions to media, business, government, and institutions, as well as news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites.

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