At this year’s Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference, keynote speaker Crystal Washington had an important message for attendees: be cyborgs, not androids.
What is the difference between androids and cyborgs? While androids are robots built to resemble people, any science fiction fan will point out that cyborgs are humans with robotic parts. Washington asked the audience how many of them sleep with their phones within arm’s reach, and nearly everyone raised their hands. Whether it was on the floor, nightstand, or even in the bed, the majority of attendees conceded that they’re never far from their phones. Mobile devices have become so omnipresent that many people will hear or feel phantom notifications or vibrations in their pockets if they leave their phones off for 24 hours.
The point was clear: it’s important to ensure that we’re controlling the technology we use, and not the other way around. Instead of being androids who simply follow their programming, we need to be cyborgs and use technology as a tool to boost our strengths. “It’s all about balance,” she said. “The pandemic has exacerbated some of the issues that already exist [in our industry]—but it’s also opened up some really unique opportunities.”
Washington warned attendees that while technology can be intimidating, we need to be more open minded to new ideas. A fear of new technology isn’t uncommon, but the fear of being left behind by refusing to adapt to new innovations is much more real.
Future Technologies: Drones, Drones, Drones
Eric Blevins discussed the current requirements for drone usage and the process of obtaining drone licensing, as well as how he and his team use drones for everything from marketing to job site documentation and verification. Just as importantly, he also explored what customers think about the new tool.
“I’ve always considered myself a bit of a tech geek,” said Eric Blevins, owner of Evolve Landscaping and Evolve Flight. It would seem that that has paid off, as Blevins’ use of drones has propelled his business and given him a competitive advantage through brand recognition as an innovator in his local market. His customers find the use of drones interesting and exciting, reassuring them of his ability to provide a cutting edge product. This second-to-none approach to new technology helps with client retention and also expands his customer demographic.
“Once you’ve got your license and your drone, you can really make it work for you,” he said. He went on to mention that adding drone technologies has allowed him to charge a premium in his local market for drone-related work, creating an additional revenue stream for a business.
Robots in Landscaping
We all knew this day would come, and now it’s here. Not only are robotic lawn mowers a true innovation, but they are now being used in commercial landscaping and being integrated into field service and CRM softwares.
Now Robin Autopilot™ has a new fleet console platform, a multi-manufacturer fleet management system that enables landscapers to review the status of their robic mower fleets, send commands, track maintenance and more. This new innovation will be the launching pad for the rise of the robotic mowing industry. If you haven’t had a chance to think about robots in your landscaping business, now is the time!
Big Changes in the Software Landscape
2021 has been the year of acquisitions within the lawn and landscape technology industry. One of the biggest acquisitions brought together two of the most respected solutions in the field and home service industry: Real Green and WorkWave. This union furthers WorkWave’s position as a premier provider of solutions that help companies succeed and reach their full potential.
“This acquisition is something rarely seen. It is two successful, fast-growing, market-leading companies coming together to create something truly special,” said David F. Giannetto, CEO of WorkWave.
Real Green and WorkWave share a common background as two companies created by industry professionals nearly 40 years ago, each becoming well respected in their respective industries and continuing that success across the following decades. The merger of these two companies combines the best parts of each organization, allowing Real Green to advance more quickly and WorkWave to embrace the depth of expertise in the green industries that Real Green is known for.
During the Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference, Real Green COO Tim Robinson and WorkWave CEO David F. Giannetto set time aside to have a special meet and greet with attendees. This included casual conversations, answering questions, and speaking to this one-of-a-kind merger between the top market leaders in lawn care and pest control.
The event was a resounding success, especially after a year almost entirely devoid of in-person conferences and networking opportunities. The Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference continues to provide the lawncare and pest control industries with an opportunity to present emerging, innovative, and state of the art technologies and tools to better serve business owners and their customers.
We can sum up the sentiment of this year’s event with a quote from Crystal Washington: “We can’t be innovative from a space of fear,” she said. “Our goal is to put you on the offensive. If you feel like you’re constantly trying to catch up, we’re trying to switch that.”