It is a well-known fact that the world is becoming increasingly digitised, and at the same time, all societies have their problems with various kinds of pests. Digital pest solutions can help pest control operators save time and resources when combating pests. How far are the German and Scandinavian societies, when it comes to digitisation? More specifically, what’s the status of digitization in the pest control industry?
The Danish legislation has paved the way for digital pest solutions
Due to governmental legislations in Denmark, the use of rodenticides as a preventive measure of rodent control was banned in 2016. The government thereby implicitly forced pest controllers to stop using poisons as permanent baiting and start shifting to digital solutions. As a result, less poison is being used today, but rodenticides are still legal to use, if a rodent attack has been confirmed. Many pest controllers have switched or are in the process of switching to non-toxic solutions. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for the dismantling of rodenticides, as many pest controllers still use non-digital traps and solutions. Some pest controllers are still sceptic of digitized solutions, and there is still a long way to go before the entire industry is digitized. Yet, the Danish legislation has paved the way for a transformation in the pest control industry towards digital solutions.
What’s the status for the Danish society in general? The E-Government Survey from 2020 conducted by the UN declared Denmark to be the best country at public digitization. NemID, Borger.dk and Digital Post are just a few examples of digital public platforms in Denmark, platforms all Danish citizens must use when receiving information and communicating with the public sector. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated the digital status in Denmark, as businesses showed how well-equipped they were to keep going due to the digital infrastructure. Even though many Danish businesses suffered during the crisis, there are also examples of many, who managed to do much better in comparison to businesses in other countries.
Corona pushes digitization
In Germany, every industry is automating and digitizing at full speed to increase efficiency. The changes brought about by the Corona pandemic have provided an additional boost. In pest control, too? Jens Block, Sales Manager at Traplinked, a German company offering non-toxic, digital pest control solutions to pest controllers in Germany, says:
“In Germany, there have been digitized trapping for years, but only for companies, who are convinced digitization is the right way to go, or due to societal, ecological reasons or perhaps if they are forced by certifications. This has led to high prices on the products, as companies really needed them,”
As Jens Block states, the high prices on digital products made them less competitive to poisons in the past, and therefore the hurdles for digital control and monitoring systems were just too high for a lot of pest controllers.
Traplinked and TrapMe have recently entered into a partnership, and decided to cooperate on providing digital pest control solutions to the Scandinavian pest control market at affordable prices making digital traps a viable alternative to rodenticides. Both companies believe that choosing eco-friendly, efficient solutions for controlling pests should be more affordable than the environmentally damaging poisons.
A Scandinavian perspective on digitisation
Digital pest control products are rapidly gaining impact on the Scandinavian market, but there’s still some progress to be made.
When it comes to the digital development in general, Sweden is one of the most advanced countries, and there is a huge potential for levering technological trends in the years to come, according to McKinsey. Looking at the Swedish pest control market, it is much less fragmented in comparison to Denmark, as there are a few, big pest control businesses dominating the Swedish market. Why is this relevant? It matters, as it also has an impact on the digitisation process – whether a large player in a market is a first mover or reluctant to implement digital solutions can be a determining factor. Anticimex and Nomor are some of the big players in the Swedish pest control market, and both push the digital agenda for pest solutions.
Turning to look at Norway, the infrastructure is well-developed and the market is digitally mature. The government and municipalities are also offering various digital services and an increasing number of citizens are using the online services available. Many Norwegian companies have also embraced the potential of AI across a wide range of sectors. Norwegian companies often take the lead on adopting new technology and there is a well-developed e-governance. In terms of pest control, the digital solutions are also finding their way to the market. TrapMe also provides digital traps to one of Norway’s big pest control companies, which is Nokas Skadedyrskontroll.
Finland is working on improving its digital infrastructure. A strategy for digitization was launched in Finland back in 2018, and the focus was to digitise public services. The aim was to focus on the user and increase productivity in public administration. It all sounds promising, but in terms of the pest control market, digitisation is certainly not a top priority for all pest controllers. Many pest control technicians prefer using poisons rather than digital devices and some are convinced that digital devices are too complex and troublesome. One of TrapMe’s customers is the Finnish pest control company, Delecon Oy, which are using digital traps in Helsinki. The digital traps save the PCO’s a lot of time, as the intense Helsinki traffic can slow down the work for a PCO. Luckily, the digital traps tell the PCO, which traps he/she should check, when a rodent is caught.
As a sum up, Scandinavia and Germany are on the right path in terms of digitising the pest control industry, but there is room for progress. In Denmark, governmental legislations have made room for digitisation and digital solutions as an alternative to rodenticides. The rest of Scandinavia along with Germany may very well also follow the same trail to more non-toxic pest control solutions in the years to come. However, at this point, many pest controllers are still sceptic of digital pest solutions, as some fear that they might be too technical and complex to trust. Hopefully, many pest controllers will gain more trust in the digital products on the market, as they try to test and work with them, and slowly shift to non-toxic pest control solutions. The transformation to digital pest control tools will benefit the environment as well as the pest control operators time and resources compared to the use of rodenticides.