Editorial – By Eric Vengroff, Financial Analyst, Cannabis Daily
In the 1994 film Disclosure, based on the best-selling book by Michael Crichton, Michael Douglas plays Tom Sanders, a VP of production involved in the troubled manufacturing of “the Corridor,” a virtual reality data storage and retrieval system with an immersive interface. If only they could get the data to transfer at 1.5 Mbps on those dang hard drives.
As the movie progresses, there’s special effects orgy scene where Sanders/Douglas wears a VR headset and gloves to wander about a creepy-looking library with endless filing cabinets on virtual walls, all in 3D. Some database! As if finding my car in the AMC 36 parking lot after the movie wasn’t challenging enough. Nevertheless, there was a glimpse of what could possibly be done in the future.
It’s only taken 24 years, but I have now seen the future of Virtual Reality, and it’s Weed. At least it’s one possible future, and one that I would say is increasingly likely. Specifically, I am referring to WeedVR, which announced today that it was acquired by Biome Grow (corporately known as Cultivator Catalyst Corp.) in a private transaction.
In this case the VR doesn’t stand for virtual reality, but virtual retail.
Last Saturday, in her article Blowing Smoke and Making Deals Christina Pellegrini makes a point that I wholeheartedly agree with. “What is clear is that the time for talking is coming to an end”. Ultimately, growing, distributing and selling profitably will separate the winners from the losers. So, the question remains, “Who are you going to buy from?” Will it be from the friend of a friend from university or high school that you remember selling dope out of his bedroom under the nose of his parents? Or will it be from a savvy retail outlet that engages, educates and entertains their customers?
I got a demonstration and a first-hand look at a new technology that promises to do all three of the above; engage, educate and entertain. With the assistance of Fezz Stenton, Technical Director of Occupied VR and the creator of Weed VR , I donned a headset and hand controllers and stepped into a beautifully designed marijuana dispensary in a wooded setting.
The soothing sounds of a nearby stream can be heard in the earpieces. Architectural floors and luxurious interior finishes provide the foundation for the high-end shopping experience featuring containers of product attractively laid out on the walls.
In front of me are four strains of Cannabis. I use the hand controllers to pick up a bud while I grab a magnifying glass with my other hand. I manipulate the bud using my controller and I can see the detailed scan that shows me the colour, size and visual clarity and subtlety of the strain. With the touch of a button, I can see the THC and CBD concentrations clearly displayed.
I put down the magnifying glass along with the bud and pick up a pre-rolled conical joint sitting on the virtual counter. Beside it is a lighter and ashtray. Thoughtful! Using the thumb switch of the left controller I click the lighter, touch it to the fat end of the joint and bring the ‘lit’ joint to my face. I can hear ‘myself’ exhaling through the speakers. Engaging. Entertaining. Educational. This is differentiation by intent and design.
Fezz ignored doubts and the varying opinions about the platform’s potential success or viability as a business model as he pushed through the early development, and today represents a vindication of sorts. The company, which appropriately enough, was launched on April 20th (4/20) last year, was just acquired by Biome Grow, 14 months less a day from start-up.
“Education is our first milestone,” said Stenton afterward in our interview. “We see the gamers, who already use VR and are early adopters of the technology, as our first audience. They are likely to be younger and already be consumers. But the ones who may benefit the most from this interface may be older, less-experienced, or neophyte users that are trying to learn about weed for the first time and can do so in a safe, non-judgmental, one-on-one interaction with their computer or smartphone.”
That’s right -smartphone. One doesn’t need the total immersion experience to use the site, as it’s mobile-friendly. In fact, Weed VR has cleverly designed their logo to work with augmented reality interfaces on iPhones and other devices. Just point to the WeedVR logo in this article with your phone (and the AR app) to see a 3D bud that you can view, manipulate, and zoom into.
As the company transitions from education to retail sales in sync with the upcoming legislation, a full e-commerce platform will be developed to include secure transactions, inventory management, and so on. “Scanning and cataloging the strains of Biome will be our first priority”, said Stenton as we concluded, “but B2B remains a possibility down the road as growers approach us to create detailed scans of their products using our proprietary tools. “Scanning as a Service works well to describe what we can do”.
WeedVR’s close working relationship with Occupied, where Fezz distinguished himself as a VR Director on Living with Jaguars a documentary for Vice (https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmg4ma/living-with-jaguars-vr), demonstrates that the company has the bench strength on the human capital side to fulfill the promise of a more interactive, and certainly immersive, consumer experience.
Keep an eye on this company. Better yet, get yourself a VR headset and start to play in the weeds.
VISIT THE WEBSITE: http://weedvr.co/
VISIT THE WEBSITE: http://biomegrow.com
VIEW THE PRESS RELEASE: https://cannabisdaily.today/biome-grow-announces-agreement-to-acquire-weed-virtual-retail/
The information and opinions presented here are that of the analyst and do not represent the thoughts and opinions of this website. The analyst may own or represent any of the companies listed in this article and receives compensation from some parties mentioned in this article. Readers are urged to do their own research and due diligence and should seek advice from an independent financial advisor before making any financial investment.