Summer is here in all its British unpredictability, so we’re here to serve up the brightest and best in weather-related tech. An honourable mention must at first go to Authentic Weather, the app that really tells it as it is, often to crippling comic effect – take a look at these in-app screenshots for a better idea… However, the app that’ll be keeping us lamas warm come winter is Sunshine, which calibrates to your personal temperature sensitivity, adjusting it’s weather advice accordingly. When you’re out and about, it asks you how exactly you’re feeling, from ‘freezing’ via ‘pleasant’ to ‘hot’. Over time, Sunshine builds a picture of your personal heat sensitivity so it won’t send you out over or underprepared for the elements.
At last, gritty Northerners and sensitive Southerners are being adequately served by the same weather forecast. Co-founder and CEO Katerina Stroponiati is right to assert that “60-degrees isn’t a one-size-fits-all temperature.” She explains that “for some it might as well be the Arctic tundra. For others it’s shorts weather. So when it’s 60-degrees outside, how do you know if it’s sweater 60-degrees or flip-flops 60-degrees?”
Sunshine launched last October with the aim of offering something a little more user-friendly in a fairly data-heavy app category. The app provides users with easy advice that doesn’t require a masters in Meteorology to decipher – it deals out straight talking statements like: ‘you’ll be cold all day.’ See? No science required. The recent incorporation of weather-sensitive barometers into phone hardware means many forecast apps are now crowdsourcing data straight from users. Sunshine goes a step further by also pooling real-time weather reports from users, in much the same way as Waze crowdsources traffic news.
The growing uptake of Sunshine amongst young people (70% of its users are aged between 14-24) signifies a striking trend. Weather apps have until now been the last bastion of technology occupied by your mum and dad, but Stropionati is keen capitalise on its popularity with the young by branding Sunshine as “not your parents’ weather app.” It turned out (in interviews they held at Berkley and UCLA) that school college students are now checking the weather daily to inform their wardrobe decisions and plan activities. “At the same time,” says Stropionati, “most young people cannot engage with the utility nature of weather apps out there. They want something more engaging and personal.”
The Bottom Line: Sunshine learns about you in order to best prepare you for the day. Download it for free to start crowdsourcing personalised forecasts.