With cannabis tech startups of all nature sprouting up in the United States, the need to stay on top of the latest IT trends regardless of market niche becomes all the more imperative. A “tech trend” can be defined as one with the potential to significantly impact the way different industries operate in the next three years. Factors that indicate this impact include the high potential of disruption to your business and its end users, the need for major investment, and of course the risk of being late to adopt. Listed below are 5 tech trends that we think cannabis tech companies cannot ignore in their strategic planning process in 2018:
1. AI and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are facilitating cannabis data to be used to better reach consumers and conduct business. Cannabis chatbots, for instance, offer sophisticated analysis and deep learning systems to help consumers and patients find better cannabis products. They use Artificial Intelligence that understands the various products and services on the market including different strains, THC levels, and delivery methods. The chatbots get to know the needs of patients as well as any symptoms they may be experiencing and can accurately recommend cannabis products at nearby dispensaries. AI and ML are also helping growers by offering fully automated systems that decrease energy expenditures and costs while increasing yield and quality of the cultivated crop. This cannabis technology utilizes sensors and the big data mined from them to decide and learn for itself the best way to cultivate marijuana.
Blockchain enabled software infrastructure - in our previous blog post, we mentioned how blockchain is revolutionizing canna-business for growers, suppliers, and end-users. Blockchain technology ties in with cannabis technology because it creates a decentralized, secure method to manage big data and eases many of the ongoing industry dilemmas. Transactions, for instance, can be verified and secured with increasing transparency and security in both the B2B and B2C sectors. This cannabis technology also offers vast improvements in technology with emerging platforms that allow businesses and users to avoid many of the big businesses and industries that are dominantly anti-marijuana. Overall, blockchain is easy, safe, and secure which is making it something regulators, professionals, and consumers are all getting behind.
3. Discreet Cannabis Consumption
Gone are the days of the radio size vaporizers. Cannabis trends are now leaning towards small and sleek devices that can be used on the go in many environments. Jamie Rosen, CEO of vaporizer company, Dr. Dabber, told Forbes, “the development of electronic cannabis oil vaporizers and increasingly discreet pens, seem to be making a notable difference in medical marijuana patients' lives.” These devices offer more occasions for use and are becoming the preferred method for many cannabis smokers. Rosen continued,“increasingly high-tech and high-quality vaporizers are making it easier for medical patients to access the treatments they need." These vaporizers evolve the smoking experience allowing users to heat up flowers at safer and lower temperatures and maintain consistency. They also remove the need for butane lighters, that emit a dangerous carcinogen to inhale. This cannabis technology provides a much smoother experience.
4. Mobile Ordering
The shut-in economy has provided a range of opportunities for cannabis consumers to get legalized, order, and receive marijuana all from home. GreenRush is a GrubHub/Seamless of Marijuana which provides a platform for cannabis delivery in California, Nevada, and Colorado. Users can order from medical marijuana facilities or cannabis dispensaries which input their inventories onto the application. Later, similar cannabis technology will have applicable tie ins with commercial UAVs (also known as drones) and Autonomous Vehicles that could act as delivery mechanisms from point-of-sale or warehouses to end users. Eaze has already expressed interest in using drones to deliver marijuana. At this year’s High Times Cannabis Cup, they demonstrated a marijuana drone delivery. Despite this, they still think the technology is a few years away from mainstream adoption.
5. Cyber Security
With all of these new technological advancements, business systems are even more vulnerable. Big data leads to big security risks. The IoT, smart devices, new purchasing methods, and other Cannabis technologies are enabling a vast wealth of data to be collected and analyzed. However, the more devices plugged in, the greater chance hackers have at accessing this sensitive information. As technology develops it is increasingly important to keep business and customer data secure.