Can winter be an inspiring season? Yes, particularly when it comes to a weather forecast website.
Even if we take it for granted, it predetermines our day – how we will dress, whether we will take our umbrella, what we will do after work, how and where we will spend the weekend.
It is no longer just about how we plan our time – it is all about who we plan it with.
For 10 years now, people in Bulgaria have been planning their time with Sinoptik.bg, one of the country's first weather forecast websites.
The concept was born in 2007. Emanuil Manolov, Netinfo Portfolio Manager, shared some details about the launch of the website and the challenge of providing accurate weather forecasts without misleading users.
"Our main goal was to be useful to the people", said members of the team, adding that the idea to create Sinoptik.bg came naturally during an exceptionally cold winter. Back then, one of the company's former owners came back from a trip abroad with two things: a model of the first smart phones and the latest trend – checking the weather online. Netinfo decided to provide this service to Bulgarian users.
What is the thing in common between a smartphone and Sinoptik.bg? "Back then, for the first time ever, we saw swiping. This is how we decided to use this model for the Sinoptik.bg website", the team remembers, explaining the creation of the website was an easy process. The challenge was to choose a forecast provider who would not misleader its users.
At that time, technological developments allowed finding a weather forecast provider for Bulgaria, but there was a problem – forecasts were made by computers and there were high risks of inaccuracies.
"There weren’t that many meteorological stations back then," Sinoptik.bg 's team remembers. "They did not monitor the separate microclimates in Bulgaria, there were regions without a single meteorological station. These were specific areas and there was a massive risk of failure."
For example, in the whole Rhodope region there was only one place providing data, and the eastern and western part of the mountain are very different – there was no way of getting precise forecast for the individual microclimates.
This is where people had to be involved to avoid big inaccuracies. "Once you have a computer forecast, you also need human resources to correct the errors. The challenge was to find a partner, ready to do this for us."
At the same time, Finland-based company Foreca was willing to improve their forecasts for the Balkans and Sinoptik.bg was an opportunity for them to cover this perimeter. The two companies entered partnership which continues to this day. After finding all necessary ingredients to secure an accurate weather forecast, several tests were made and Sinoptik.bg was launched online.
Its birthday was May 13, 2008.
In its early version, the website covered 1,000 cities, towns and villages, with only 300 of them being in Bulgaria.
"People started using the website because it provided very good forecasts. In just two years, the website shoot off in its niche," the team shared.
The website's development went in line with user demands. In 2011, Netinfo's team also created a mobile version of the website, and in 2014 it launched a mobile app.
"The good thing about this website is that people visit it. Nowadays, we have more meteorological stations, and forecasts are getting growingly accurate." This allows increasing the website's functionalities. Apart from weather forecasts, now it also features information about the phases of the Moon, and users based in Sofia can trace air pollution levels.
"Our goal is to secure easy, fast and convenient information to our users," said Lachezar Dobrev, the website's product manager. He shared his ideas about the added value of weather content for users. His idea was welcomed by the audience and the team's future ambitions include adding functionalities that would be even more useful for the users.
In 2018, Sinoptik.bg celebrated its 10th anniversary. Today, its weather forecasts allows everyone to plan their day in 80,000 cities, towns and villages around the world.
*data source: Google Analytics currently used by Netinfo