Top 5 IT Trends Cannabis Tech Must Consider

By: Alex Topchishvili

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 than 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 2016:


1. Computing Everywhere - As mobile devices continue to proliferate, 2016 will see an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse context and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone. Phones, tablets, and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes consumer electronics and connected screens across media channels. The overall environment and experience with cannabis technology will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user, driving increased attention to user experience design. 

2. Smart Machines - The main precondition to a world of smart machines is the ability to apply deep analytics to understand context. This foundation, combined with advanced algorithms, allow systems to understand their environment, learn from themselves, and act autonomously. For an industry as new as marijuana, smart machinery will drive immense data mining and actionable insights on patients, consumers, cultivators, and dispensaries alike.

3. Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics - As the volume of cannabis-related data generated by embedded system increases and vast pools of structured and unstructured data inside and outside the enterprise are analyzed, analytics will undoubtedly take center stage. Every app needs to be an analytic app, and companies will need to filter the huge amount of data coming in from apps, social media, and wearable devices, and deliver exactly the right information, to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere, and there is no reason that cannabis tech should lag behind.

4. Software-Defined Application and Infrastructure - Agile development of everything from applications to basic infrastructure is critical to enable organizations to deliver the flexibility required to make digital business work. Software-defined networking, storage, data centers and security are maturing, while cloud services and applications increasingly come with rich API calls to access function and content programmatically. The majority of partnerships between tech companies in cannabis will rely on software infrastructure of the parties involved, and their ability to move away from static to dynamic models, rules, and code.

5. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection - All roads to a mainstream marijuana industry lead through security. Security can be a roadblock that impedes cannabis market growth, if we let it. Cannabis companies must recognize that while it is not possible to provide a 100 percent secured environment, applying sophisticated risk assessment and mitigation tools is a must. Security-aware application design, dynamic and static application security testing, and run-time application self-protection combined with active context-aware and adaptive access controls are all needed to protect sensitive cannabis data in today’s somewhat dangerous digital world. Perimeters and firewalls are no longer enough; every app needs to be self-aware and self-protecting. It goes without saying that security for physical locations such as cannabis cultivation sites and dispensaries is imperative, which call for their own set of integrated monitoring modules and video/audio capabilities.