Weather often plays havoc with the concrete producer's labor cost controls and customer-service efforts. Clearing afternoon skies often lead to late deliveries that would require overtime. Scheduling drivers to come in late or not at all requires more accurate, localized weather forecasts and warnings than those provided by the television or radio on the dispatcher's desk. So does rerouting trucks and informing customers of weather changes.
Data Transmission Network of Omaha, Neb., one satellite service, has expanded its delivery capabilities by partnering with cellular service provider Page Update Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., for a new text paging service called DTN Weather Alert. Page Update sorts data from three satellite-based services--the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Wire, DTN's Kavouras Radar and NEXRAD--and transmits it to subscribers' pagers.
The service predicts conditions for the next 12 hours in two daily updates. Severe weather alerts include severe thunderstorm watches and warnings in addition to flash flood watches and warnings. Information is available for up to eight counties. It's possible to specify the daily service time frame, and it will eventually be possible to customize update times.
Page Update is also developing traffic coverage of 65 cities through the service. Harris' firm partners with an Internet-based traffic-reporting service that employs helicopter reporters and individuals who input data from police scanners in their area. A file server reads the information and modems it to subscribers' pagers.
DTN is marketing Weather Alert as a supplement to its core Weather Center product that has its own monitor, satellite receiver and a dish. However, it has stand-alone capability. The service requires the producer to supply an alphanumeric pager or PCS phone. It also carries a one-time hook-up fee in addition to the monthly fee.
Keywords: Weather, DTN, Data Transmission Network, Weather Alert, pager