Husqvarna Miami 2017 Media Event
Last year we attended the Husqvarna Silent City 2 event in Sweden. It focused on a discussion of the future of urban parks and landscaping. It attempted to paint a picture of what urban parks and development might look like circa 2030. This Husqvarna Miami 2017 media event was the North America follow-up which brought much of that same information to domestic media publications here in the USA. We got to hang out with other industry publications like Better Homes and Gardens, Turf Magazine, and more.
Opening the Husqvarna Miami 2017 Media Event
We opened up with a presentation by Jeff Dewosky, VP and general manager for Husqvarna. Topics we discussed included the future of green space maintenance, Husqvarna’s history of innovating new products and technology, and how the needs of both the professional and homeowner are evolving. Director of marketing, Michelle Sordi, led us through a study of landscape architecture college students regarding green spaces. We then did a Q&A with a panel of experts facilitated by Margaretha Finnstedt, director of public relations and communications for Husqvarna.
When Professionals and Homeowners Collide
Homeowners and professionals have similar needs across a wide range of topics and areas. Husqvarna spent some time outlining these and how their strategy is beneficial to both. For one, both require high levels of productivity. Weekend landscaping projects and maintenance feel just as important to the homeowner as the requirements of a daily use solution to a professional landscaper. Outdoor power equipment products, including new battery powered solutions, need to be durable and reliable.
They also need to have sufficient run-time to get the job done. As battery technology improves, this metric is getting easier and easier to achieve. Ergonomics also play an important role with these products, and both Pros and homeowners require products that are easy to use, lightweight, and practical. Both landscaping professionals and homeowners are also increasingly concerned with sustainability. Husqvarna is placing a lot of emphasis on this. Coming from the European side of things, sustainability is almost a requirement for products which are increasingly replacing traditional petroleum products.
Tools That Talk Back
One smart tool technology that will likely not make its way to the homeowner market is the Husqvarna Fleet Services system. It does have appeal for Pros, however. Fleet Services is software and hardware that promises tool tracking, inventory management, personnel management, and business optimization functions for any size business. The system should launch this year and will be scalable to meet the needs fo small businesses as well as larger landscaping and maintenance organizations.
If you back up and look at the system as a whole, the idea is simple. What if your tools could talk? Indeed. Husqvarna believes that smart tools can optimize the way you work, alert you to required and routine maintenance, optimize staffing and equipment needs, and more. If tools and employees are monitored in this way, data and information can be automatically processed to raise efficiency and even help promote safer and more efficient working methods.
We like it, and it makes a lot of good sense.
Why “Silent City”?
The “Silent City” aspect of this event is tied to the quiet performance battery powered products bring to residential and commercial use applications for string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers, and lawn mowers. These tools also bring with them smart technology (think GPS, inventory control, and ergonomic/performance sensors) as well as ecological advantages which bring better sustainability. Put it all together, and battery powered OPE products play a huge role in contributing to the Silent City model.
Check out the visual Husqvarna provided to illustrate just how cities might begin to develop more green areas—particularly on rooftops:
Going Green in Landscaping
Jeff Sebert was one of the guest speakers (also present at the Silent City 2 event in Sweden). President and founder of Sebert Landscaping, Jeff spoke about how his company is expanding further and further into the realm of green landscaping. For starters, they use a lot of propane in their zero turn mowers. Besides that, they do something highly unusual, however. They run several solar powered trailers that operate with mostly battery-powered Husqvarna products. In this way, they’ve begun to set up entire crews that only use battery powered equipment.
Some of the results surprised them—many of their Pros started preferring battery powered string trimmers and other non-petrol OPE tools. Where once there was mockery, the lightweight odor-free tools gained in appeal. Now there are more crews who are calling for additional trailers. It is Sebert’s goal to bring around 15 total trailers onboard by the end of 2017. Jeff really lent some credibility and practicality to the Husqvarna Miami 2017 media event. It’s always good to hear from guys who are really in the thick of things.
Robotic Mowers for Roundabouts?
Our review of the Husqvarna Automaker 315 gave us a leg up on that part of the Husqvarna Miami 2017 media event. “Bob,” as they so lovingly referred to the automower, was definitely the hit of the show. As more and more American consumers and Pros come onboard with automower technology, look for the face of automated landscaping tasks to change. It should be a wild ride. In terms of financial motivations, a robotic mower costs much less than gas to run. There are also no emissions to worry about and no noise, so you get a greener solution.
Pros are warming to the idea because you have no need of an on-site operator. You also get increased cut quality since the lawn is mowed continuously over time. Husqvarna calls it “fairway cut quality”.
Several cities in the US have agreed to begin testing commercial use of the Husqvarna Automowers this year. Primarily these will be for handling remote mowing locations. Pros also made it loud and clear that they’d like to move these into the workforce as well.
Testing New Outdoor Power Tools
After our PowerPoint marathon, we got to visit Museum Park in Miami Beach. There, we tested some of the newest Husqvarna power tools. We’ve already reviewed most of the products, including the Husqvarna 436LiB 36V blower, Husqvarna 536LiL string trimmer, and Husqvarna 36V hedge trimmer. We’ll line up some others later this year. In particular, we want to check out the new articulating hedge trimmer and pole trimmers.
The Husqvarna Miami 2017 media event was certainly informative. While we’ve gotten a bit more of the story than most, we could tell that others really woke up to the idea of green rooftops and the increased use of battery-powered products by Pros. It’s fun to watch the “lights” go on as professionals and consumers alike begin to think about the possibilities that cordless OPE tools offer.