What Cannabis Companies Need Internet Access For
Track and Trace Systems
All but a small number of tiny or low-tech cannabis businesses depend on the internet in some capacity in order to operate. For one, most states and provinces require you to use internet-based track-and-trace systems like Metrc. Some require real-time reporting, or require retailers to check a customer’s records so you don’t dispense more cannabis than allowed per individual in a given time period.
Web-Based Cannabis Software
On top of that, a lot of the software used in the cannabis business requires an internet connection. In fact, especially with POS systems, it’s rare to see vendors that even offer a version you can install on a local server – BioTrack is the only one that immediately comes to mind.
Many cannabis software vendors advertise offline modes, but we’ve spoken with many retailers with offline-ready software that still find internet outages disruptive for one reason or another, including difficulty logging in, inventory tracking and syncing issues, payment processing issues, and the inability to communicate with track-and-trace systems on a real time basis.
Other Software and Web-Based Resources
Plus, it’s not as if your cannabis software is the only thing in your business that needs access to the internet in order to work. Most companies use internet-dependent VoIP phones these days, so you won’t be able to receive or make any calls. You also need to access email and other web-based applications like Google Workspaces, Dropbox, Slack, and Asana, and may also need internet to provide guest WiFi or cloud video surveillance systems depending on the type of business you run.
Looking Towards the Future
Even traditionally low-tech fields like cultivation and manufacturing need at least some access for track-and-trace purposes. And we’re starting to see companies in these fields use high-end, internet-dependent technologies like IoT sensors and AI and Big Data-driven, cloud-based analytics and operations management software.
This’ll only increase as the industry matures and consolidates, and big companies try to leverage technology to increase efficiencies and maintain their profit margin as they juggle dozens of facilities, thousands of workers, and petabytes of real time data.
Why It Matters
For one thing, internet outages are just generally disruptive, and there are ways to prevent them (which we’ll get into in a second) that are relatively simple and affordable to implement, especially for larger cannabis businesses. And obviously they cause lost sales and productivity.
In addition to that, here are some other reasons it’s important to prevent internet outages:
Sometimes Good Internet Isn’t an Option
Some cannabis businesses have trouble getting fast and reliable internet access. A lot of them are located in remote areas with poor connectivity options, or in industrial areas and strip malls where options can be just as underwhelming despite being in a mid-to-large-sized city.
Wait Times at Dispensaries Are Already Long Enough
Dispensary consumers don’t seem to mind long lines, at least when dispensaries first open and there’s an event-like/exclusivity aspect to it. But that usually wears off and more and more competition starts moving into the neighborhood and people have more options, and many just want to quickly pick up some weed on their way home from work. Take a look at any dispensary’s Yelp page – usually one of the top complaints, especially for medical marijuana shops that can only allow a certain number of patients at a time, is usually long times.
An internet outage that leads to long waits for orders could be the tipping point that causes your customers to go to the competing dispensary down the road instead.
Every Customer Matters
For most retailers, repeat customers are the most profitable. But it’s hard to tell what new customers will turn into repeat customers, and your best customers often come in at different times of day. If you can’t guarantee your internet access, you’re running the risk of delivering an underwhelming experience to your best potential or existing clients, and causing them to go over to competitors.
Efficiency Is Everything
Especially at the top of the supply chain for cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors, who have a lot of tough, publicly-traded competition and thin profit margins. A lot of these companies are big operations that might lose thousands of dollars for every minute of inactivity or disrupted operations, and require tight coordination with other businesses.
How Cannabis Companies Can Prevent Internet Outages
Select a Reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Look up reviews online or ask fellow business owners. You can also contact us to review your options – we can usually get you discounted pricing through our connections with ISPs in the US and Canada. In some cases the decision will be especially easy (though usually not in a good way) if there’s only one ISP serving your area. You can probably make do with a 10 Mbps line, but try to find anything higher than that for a decent price.
Get a Second Line
If there are multiple ISPs in your area and you can afford it, consider signing up for a second line. Cure8 can help you set up your internet so it uses bandwidth from both lines, then automatically switches all traffic over to one line in case the other goes down.
If both internet lines go down, you’re probably dealing with an alien invasion and have bigger things to worry about.
Sign up for a Mobile Backup Internet Service
Less expensive than a second line is an automated backup internet device that uses a mobile data connection (like a smartphone) to connect to the internet. It automatically switches you over when the main internet connection goes down, so downtime is minimal. This option only works of course if you have decent cell coverage in your area.
Use Commercial-Grade Networking Hardware Only
It is tempting just to send someone down to Best Buy to pick up a few new routers and switches. After all, consumer-grade networking products are usually less expensive. Most low-priced consumer electronics are built to much less rigorous specs and are unable to keep up with the amount of data traffic, temperatures, and 24/7 operating stress of a business environment. Many of these low-cost routers explicitly exclude business use in the warranty, undoubtedly owing to the greater demands of a business network.
The operating systems powering business-level IT equipment give administrators more secure encryption methods, as well as easy deployment of additional security policies across your entire network. Business-grade networking equipment is designed with the future in mind – a quality business network has more to offer, so your operations have room to grow.
Have a Professional Review Your Network
Your network must be reviewed by experts for appropriate network settings and configurations. While the layman might blame some factor, the actual issue for slow internet might be just a small change in settings or the distance of access point from devices or it being positioned incorrectly. Instead of being lured into a more expensive plan, a simple solution may rest in just switching Wi-Fi channels for some devices.
Restrict High-Traffic Websites
Another way to save Wi-Fi bandwidth is to block access to high-bandwidth-consumptive recreation websites like YouTube and Netflix on your company’s network and computers. According to recent estimates, more than 70% of workers use work devices to watch Netflix, and Netflix down-streaming accounts for more than 12% of all internet traffic!
Use Quality of Service (QoS)
Any technology that helps you manage data traffic to reduce latency, packet loss, and jitter on a network is known as QoS. It allows you to manage network resources by setting priorities for a specific type of data on the network. You can set up a QoS tool that would help your router to divide your total bandwidth between applications to ensure that no application eats up substantial bandwidth rendering other devices useless.
How Cure8 Can Help
You would want to spend your time and energy on your core business instead of worrying about network infrastructure. Cure8 can smoothly take away your network infrastructure woes. Cure8 could help you explore your options in your region and help you discover more options that would have gone unconsidered.
Cure8 takes the responsibility of planning and managing your primary and backup networks diligently and monitors 24×7 with extremely quick outage response. Due to round-the-clock monitoring, it always makes sure that the network is always up. Cure8 helps you manage your business effectively as it is aware of the network issues that can arise unexpectedly and is ready to ensure that these issues stay away from your place of work.