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Editor’s Note: This article is the second in a series of four trend summaries from Vision 2020, an initiative pioneered by Bayer and NPMA to help guide and shape the future of the pest management industry. The multi-year initiative will identify future trends and equip the industry to enhance its value to society in the midst of emerging societal, economic, technological and regulatory issues. The following focuses on emerging trends and implications in the area of science and technology.
Advancements in science and technology will continue to change just about every aspect of the PPM industry, from how we diagnose problems, to what solutions we recommend and how we interact with customers. These advancements will come in several forms, each with its own implications for our industry.
Mobility. The adoption of mobile computing devices of all kinds — phones, tablets, auto devices and even “wearables” such as glasses and watches — is accelerating at a rapid pace. In the years ahead, PMPs (and their customers) will be carrying, wearing or driving around with more computing power and connectivity potential than at any time in history, improving their ability to communicate and solve pest problems effectively and profitably.
Implications: Mobile technologies will allow PMPs to improve scheduling and routing, saving time and fuel. They’ll also improve PMPs’ ability to communicate “on the go” with customers. And wearable technologies such as Google Glass™ will allow PMPs to capture pictures and data at the time of service, improving the diagnosis and treatment of pest issues.
Building Materials. Nothing has the potential to shake up the PPM industry more than modern building materials and related technologies. These advancements include construction materials — made from novel polymers or composites, for instance — that eliminate the threat of wood-eating insects. They also include “exclusion” technologies that will sense the presence of pests or even repel or trap those pests through wireless signals or scents.
Implications: These technologies represent a prime opportunity to redefine “solutions” in a way that is broader than conventional pesticides. It’s also an opportunity for PMPs to leverage — and capture value from — their knowledge of pests with new audiences, namely architects, engineers and construction managers.
Chemistry. The PPM industry is just beginning to see “softer” chemical and biological solutions that work as expected and also have improved safety or environmental profiles. This trend will continue in the coming years, as technology partners strive to meet the public’s growing desire for solutions that are as effective as they are sustainable.
Implications: These products will expand PMPs’ portfolios, giving them more options to meet customer needs. These products also will allow PMPs to appeal to the small-but-vocal “natural” pest control segment. And they will give PMPs positive talking points about what they’re doing to continually strengthen their ability to control pests responsibly.
Big Data. These days, Americans generate more data in a single year than in all of the previous years of history combined, and that trend is expected to continue, thanks to the explosion in computing power and mobile technologies. Moreover, an increasing amount of this data will be available to those who choose to access it and use it to their advantage in business and in life.
Implications: PMPs will need to invest in their ability to harvest data that gives them insights into their customers’ attitudes, behaviors, buying trends, etc., so they better anticipate needs and tailor services accordingly, resulting in higher perceived value and stronger relationships.
Posted August 29, 2013