The cannabis industry is projected to surpass $75 billion by 2030, according to Cowen & Co., driven by the legalization of both medical and adult-use marijuana. While just over half of Americans have used cannabis at some point in their life, cannabis companies face an uphill battle educating those that haven’t recently tried cannabis about how to choose the right strain and right consumption device to suit their needs.
NexTech AR Solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) is taking a unique approach to the problem by harnessing the power of augmented reality. According to Statistica, the virtual and augmented reality market is projected to reach $209 billion by 2022, as customers embrace these new technologies as a way to better connect with content and brands.
NexTech AR’s ARitize™ app was launched in August 2018 to provide an advertising and education platform to cannabis brands and retailers, making it one of the only companies to combine the multi-billion dollar cannabis and augmented reality industries.
The cannabis industry can be a confusing place for experts—much less consumers without any experience. During prohibition, cannabis consumers rarely knew the type of cannabis that they were consuming apart from catchy nicknames, like Sour Diesel or Blue Dream. There were lab tests to differentiate between indica and sativa or supply chain to ensure that you were receiving the advertised ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD).
Legalization eliminated some of this uncertainty by establishing laboratory testing and labeling standards, but opened the door to thousands of new strains—each touting different effects and wellness benefits. There are so many choices at most dispensaries that it can be challenging for new consumers to know where to start or who to trust. Some dispensaries are even moving away from strain names to eliminate some of this confusion.
Augmented reality promises to help educate consumers through self-serve explanations and demonstrates. For example, a consumer might scan a certain brand with their smartphone and in 3D see a brand ambassador as a hologram explain the benefits in front of them with visual aids. Consumers could even see how consumption devices work, such as a 3D volumetric in-front-of-them demonstration on how to load a cartridge into a vaporizer.
For example, meet Buddy the Holographic Budtender:
Dispensaries can offer a fully-interactive shopping experience without having to rely on a large number of well-versed staff members. This can dramatically improve short-term sales through greater engagement with the customer, as well as long-term relationships by helping customers find products that accurately satisfy their medical or recreational needs. In the future, transactions could even occur directly through the smartphone.
Brands can leverage augmented reality to set themselves apart from the competition. Rather than relying on labeling to explain benefits, brands can produce compelling 3D AR content that captivates consumers and helps them select the best products for their needs. Cannabis companies that provide consumption device and ancillary products can similarly use augmented reality to explain how their products work.
Media companies can use augmented reality to reach more consumers, businesses, and industry participants as well. For instance, NexTech AR recently partnered with CFN Media to provide live augmented reality streaming of the New West Summit in Oakland, California on October 11-13, 2018. The company’s ARitize™ app enabled anyone around the world to see live streaming holograms from the event.
NexTech AR Solutions is a pioneer in bringing augmented reality and holographic teleportation to the cannabis market with a seasoned team.
CEO Evan Gappelberg is a seasoned entrepreneur, hedge fund manager, and early cannabis industry participant that helped Future Farm Technologies expand its market cap over 20X before leaving to form NexTech AR Solutions and bringing it public October 31st, ,2108.
President Paul Duffy invented Holographic Telepresence technology and has spent the past 25 years successfully starting, expanding, diversifying, and selling global technology companies, including one of the largest online learning and communication companies in North America.
COO Reuben Tozman has over 15 years operating product and engineering teams at an executive level. He has led large and geographically dispersed teams of people working alongside other executives to help drive results.Most recently Reuben was the VP of Product for Shutterstock Custom (previously Flashstock).
CTO Scott Jenkins, whom has 25 years of experience in the software industry, having been involved in both the product development and marketing of over 200 software properties internationally for a variety of companies, resulting in over $5B in combined sales. While serving as Creative Director at Acclaim Entertainment, Scott contributed to iconic industry franchises including Mortal Kombat, Marvel, The Simpsons, WWE/WWF, Turok, etc.