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Inside Retail & Flick

Advanced data-driven pest control systems ready to safeguard businesses

With the advent of digital technologies and global concerns for sustainability, advanced pest control is emerging as a critical protection for global and local businesses alike. 

It may have taken the pressures of the pandemic to draw the world’s attention to it (and the high volume of vacant workspaces and food production facilities that resulted – ideal conditions for rodents to set up residence) but the world is finally starting to take notice that the perfect rodent trap finally exists. Of course, as one might expect for a product of the digital age, it comes packed with automation, AI technology and cloud computing capabilities at a level that could finally put an end to the ongoing battle of Man vs. Rodent.

“Take the traditional rodent trap – once a catch is made it needs to be serviced manually, and we have no way of know if the trap is effective until we actually go out there,” explains Flick CEO Jussi Ylinen, who is overseeing the growing Pacific market for hi-tech SMART pest control systems. “But these devices can catch multiple times, and with each and every catch, they send a signal to our SMART monitoring system – which is operated in an Azure cloud environment – alerting us that a catch has been made.

“This means we can monitor for trends and see, for example, if this is the third night in a row, we may need to take pre-emptive action against a potentially larger infestation. So we will send our technician on site to make an assessment and empty the traps. We can also control the system remotely to check that the devices are fully operational and to monitor battery status.”

With tightening regulations, strict audits and an increased consumer focus on hygiene and safety (especially in the food and retail sectors) Flick’s SMART HACCP-certified system is emerging as a cutting-edge technology that many industry players are yet to be made aware of – a system that is something akin to the kind of security and surveillance technologies that have come of age with modern digital advances. With pests presenting numerous health and compliance risks for food retail, production and manufacturing – and the associated potential for shutdown and millions of dollars’ worth of damage – SMART’s non-toxic and eco-friendly digital pest management system precisely meets such businesses’ needs, while at the same time helping them to meet their sustainability goals.

“In food production, there’s always a possibility of pest infestation – as there is a constant food source and the facilities provide shelter and a place to breed,” explains Ylinen. “Of course, the food industry nowadays is automated in many places, so there are fewer people around to observe. You now need a technology-based solution to monitor those parts of the premises that you typically wouldn’t see. But of course, it’s also the brand’s reputation on the line – when something goes wrong today, it’s not only the cost of a production stoppage, but you also risk developing a negative reputation as the story may get out through social media. It all goes so fast. SMART traps are 100% non-toxic; the solution is eco-friendly and it prevents the spread or pesticides. That’s why it’s important to manage your risks pre-emptively and on a higher level.”

An Australian heritage brand in pest control, Flick was acquired by Anticimex in 2013 – which has been marketing the new systems since their development in the firm’s Denmark-based R&D innovation centre several years ago. The devices are aesthetically designed to not look like rodent traps at all, and to euthanise rats and mice humanely by electric shock rather than using pesticides – with the capacity to capture several rats or perhaps two dozen mice without intervention. Because the devices are remotely monitored 24/7, Flick can promptly send technicians to clear the traps whenever necessary.

The firm also produces monitoring devices for cockroaches and moths, replacing traditional systems where pest control staff may have only been evaluating premises periodically by visual observation. While insect infestations can rapidly grow to near unmanageable levels between checks, Flick’s SMART solution can detect the presence of pests early via catches or movements, triggering a timely eradication response before the problem escalates.

While these systems are in their early stages in terms of rollout within Australia, they have the potential to represent a more powerful pest control network once their distribution reaches a singularity point – allowing the firm to detect emerging infestations across entire residential and industrial areas by analysing multiple detections geographically, big-data style.

“This is something totally new,” says Ylinen. “We’re excited here! I can’t say for sure that it’s comparable to how iPhones revolutionised the mobile phone industry, but it certainly looks like it will change the face of the pest control industry. SMART also contributes positively to the environment and helps companies with their sustainability efforts. Everybody wins here – the environment, community and our customers, as SMART is a gamechanger for preventing pest problems before they occur.” 

Download the “Common Pests in FMCG” Report from Flick’s website at flick.com.au or contact 13 14 40 to make an enquiry.