Leading commercial pest control company, Rentokil Initial is set to transform pest control for Australian businesses by introducing machine learning and AI automation to its pest monitoring units to identify pest behaviours as they happen.

Pests cost the Australian economy billions each year and pose a huge risk for businesses, with recent research revealing that pests have cost two thirds (67%) of Australian business through loss of revenue, reputational damage or damaged produce.

To improve effectiveness of pest control solutions, Rentokil Initial’s PestConnect devices which currently detect pest activity through sensors will be upgraded and supported by inbuilt cameras. The cameras will recognise pest behaviours and other factors impacting pest activity to provide technology-driven insights to accurately and quickly reduce the risk of pests. 

Rentokil Initial lead of Internet of Things (IoT) and ‘pest futurist’, Andrew Taylor said PestConnect technology is modernising the face of pest management services by offering an innovative and effective way to control pests, instead of traditional methods such as blanket spraying.

“PestConnect is a holistic, data-driven solution that utilises cutting-edge AI technology to predict, monitor and respond to pest activity, in real-time, well before it becomes a problem and infestation sets in,” Taylor said.

“While evolving technology and AI systems have revolutionised most Australian industries, pest services have largely relied on traditional, manual methods, with varied success. Over the past decade, we’ve focused on developing pioneering technology that will change the way we manage pests, providing an efficient and sustainable solution to manage every pest problem. The more data we have, the less time we need to figure out the issue, and with machine learning enabling us to filter out the ‘white noise’ and remove false positives, we can work more efficiently to control pest activity.”

Recent research conducted by Lonergan and Rentokil Initial showed that more than two in five (43%) business leaders that had a pest infestation had production delays, with 41% businesses having to close down while undertaking pest control. 

Rentokil Initial service innovation and development manager, Matt Jones said business closures can have a significant impact on business revenue and staffing, which are avoidable through adequate pest control systems. “Australia is home to a wide variety of insects and other pesky creatures that can wreak havoc when not properly managed, particularly in the food services and production industries,” he said.

PestConnect mitigates the risk of business closure by implementing an extensive infrastructure of digital monitoring devices, offering 24/7 monitoring, which can be remotely accessed. The system also includes an intelligent risk mapping database that provides a predictive and proactive view of pest activity by collating and analysing emerging trends through millions of data points. 

“Effective pest control is much more than responding to a live issue or infestation, and PestConnect allows us to monitor and predict activity, and by doing so, implement targeted interventions before any damage is done to stock or produce,” Jones said.