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Tom Warner

BBC Weather Bot – Always take the weather with you!

NixonMcInnes has a heritage of technology and while we are increasingly focussed on helping our clients to get fit for the digital world, we still like to keep our foot in the realm of building things on the Internet.

For the last 18 months, we’ve been working with BBC Connected Studio and BBC Weather to create BBC Weather Bot. Weather Bot is a Twitter-based ‘bot’ that replies to requests, in the form of tweets, for weather forecasts. The interesting thing about it is that it will work with almost any wording you can throw at it – the only requirement is a UK location and date/time. For example:

BBC Weather Bot

Weather Bot has been born out of the BBC Connected Studio programme, an innovation initiative at the BBC that connects non-BBC creative and technical people with BBC production, project management and technology teams in a paid competition / pitching format. NM technologist alumnus Steve Winton was responsible for designing and building Weather Bot and bringing her to the public pilot stage, along with members of the BBC Research + Development team and the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex. Weather Bot is Steve’s baby and I’m sure he’ll be proud to see her growing some pretty big and powerful wings in order to fly the nest.

Weather Bot is one of the first Connected Studio pilots to be making the journey from pilot to a live product. Matt and I have been working on that journey for the last year, with help from the good people at Singing Horse Studio here in Brighton. This has provided the unique opportunity to work closely with some extremely clever experts at the BBC to turn our awesome proof-of-concept into a fully-fledged product that can be put in front of the UK public and deal with the scale, speed and reliability expectations that come with that amazing (and demanding) audience.

We’re almost there and all the important work is done – very soon, Weather Bot will be publicised directly on BBC News and Weather – how exciting! A production-ready, but still in pilot, version of Weather Bot can be found at @BBCWeatherBot. You’ll need to follow the account, and be followed back, to use the service.

How’s the weather looking this weekend in Brighton?

If you have any questions about the technology behind Weather Bot, the BBC will be publishing a detailed (and long!) technical blog post that I have written when Weather Bot goes fully live, so watch this space. If you have other questions about our great experience working with BBC Connected Studio or would like to work with us on something similar, please don’t hesitate contact me at @thoswarner or


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