Cannabis is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, with cultivators and dispensaries popping up as soon as a region makes it legal. This exciting and rapid expansion promises tens of thousands of jobs, new strains of cannabis, and an expanded and more accessible market, but how are cultivators keeping up?
With more competition and higher demand putting pressure on growers to out-shine and out-produce their fellow cultivators, cannabis growers have had to turn to innovative new methods. Moving just as quickly as the cannabis industry, technology has become the popular answer to the question: How will we keep up?
Growing cannabis isn’t easy, and one small misstep can render an entire crop unusable. Cannabis cultivators spend hours perfecting their climate, soil, water pH, and lighting, often only to end up with dead plants. In other cases, male flowers prevail, making it more difficult for cultivators to produce the female plants that contain THC. These mistakes might be fine for a hobbyist home grower, but for commercial producers, these kinds of missteps can destroy their bottom line.
Because cannabis is finicky, requiring exacting care and conditions, some growers have begun turning to technology to improve their crop yields. IoT (Internet of Things) technology, in particular, has begun to gain popularity. Several agricultural IoT solutions already exist, and now, cannabis growers have begun adjusting this technology for their grows.
Here, we’ll be exploring how cannabis cultivators are incorporating Internet of Things technology into their operations, and share how you can stay abreast of the latest in cannabis technology.
What Is the ‘Internet of Things’?
The Internet of Things is a broad term used to refer to every physical item that connects to the Internet. Smartwatches, smart refrigerators, and now cannabis cultivation tools all make up the Internet of Things. IoT tools allow users to track and gather data, discover important information instantly, and create automated responses to specific conditions or environments. IoT devices communicate with one another and can be used to create closed networks of automated tools, like for cultivation and agriculture.
Why IoT and Cannabis?
What makes cultivating cannabis so difficult is the precise climate control. Cannabis plants don’t like when things go awry, and won’t take favorably to an unexpected dip in temperature. Likewise, they don’t like too much water or too little and need the perfect amount of light if they are going to grow at a healthy rate.
Without the aid of automated technology, cannabis growers spend the majority of their time measuring, monitoring, and adjusting environmental conditions. Not only can this be tedious, but it can also easily allow for human error, especially with multiple people monitoring the same crop throughout the day. With IoT systems in place, cultivators can focus on the tasks that need to be done by hand rather than worrying about climate control and conditions. IoT systems can fine-tune your cultivation, allowing you to grow faster, larger, higher-quality crops.
Just a few of the reasons cannabis growers are turning to IoT include:
- Less human labor requirements – saving time and money
- Increased crop yield
- Water and energy savings thanks to close monitoring
- Simple tracking to meet State and municipal requirements and standards
Applications of IoT Cannabis Technology
IoT technology is being used in a wide range of ways by cannabis cultivators, including in cultivation facilities to improve crop yield and output. Carefully placed sensors can help monitor environmental conditions and trigger smart irrigation systems or light cycles for appropriate growing conditions. IoT technology can be used to automate greenhouses, eliminating the need for regular human care throughout the day. IoT systems also allow growers to monitor and care for their crops when away or out of town since their automated greenhouses connect to the internet and can be managed from afar.
Beyond cultivation, IoT technology can also be used for Seed-to-Sale system tracking. Many states require their growers to keep strict records of their cultivation process, a difficult task that is made easier by IoT. For example, this technology can be used for easy tracking of barcodes or plant identification from the moment the seeds are planted until the moment they are harvested. IoT can even be used to track and record issues during the cultivation process to increase transparency and prevent future problems.
Growing exponentially each year, the cannabis industry has already begun to explode with new opportunities. With the addition of automated and IoT technology, cannabis cultivators are producing even bigger, better crops in less time and with fewer resources. At Klone, we are dedicated to being at the forefront of cannabis technology and helping our clients keep up. By partnering with innovative companies like Agron, we are perfectly positioned to share the latest and greatest technology hitting the market.