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This week, Casey Creaney, vice president of product integration at Advanced Vapor Devices joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss how we are on the tip of the iceberg in terms of advancements in technology, compared to other industries.
Casey Creaney is from Baltimore, Maryland and he went to school for architectural design. After graduation, he moved to the west coast and founded a build and design firm with his wife. The business was doing well. But after seeing his mom deal with breast cancer three separate times in her life -- thankfully she's doing well now -- Creaney saw the devastation of pharmaceutical impacts and the promise of pain relief provided by cannabis. He also played D1 lacrosse while in school and used cannabis as a recovery tool.
So when he had the opportunity to get into KushCo, he jumped at it because it was the intersection of design with the cannabis industry. There he ran product development projects before eventually joining Advanced Vapor Devices (AVD).
AVD starts with intent in its approach to product development. Creaney said his team can confidently design products to meet certain price points but it's different when it comes to solving problems. He said it's about evaluating the market, examining where AVD is at as a company, and then pursuing that solution while allowing for adaptation along the way as the market evolves.
In terms of the most pressing problems to address in cannabis, Creaney said health and safety are near the top. Creaney wasn't at AVD when "Vape Gate" happened but he was working in the cannabis industry. He said health concerns and issues that arose during that time can be tough to navigate for a company like AVD that focuses on hardware and doesn't touch what goes in the hardware. But AVD makes sure it picks good partners while trying to use its platforms for helping set health and safety standards for products.
Taking these factors into consideration, AVD still sees a lot of difference in terms of product development cycle timeframes. Creaney said there are simplistic designs that only take a few weeks to complete and then there are integrated designs that can take anywhere from six to eight months. During the development process, AVD uses 3D printing to get a better idea of form and function, and then CNC prototypes to better understand the manufacturability of a product.
Design for manufacturing takes on a different angle since AVD is the manufacturer, so it doesn't have to work with third parties. Creaney said being a manufacturer amounts to direct access that allows the company to make decisions and alterations in real time.
Beyond what just the hardware can do, AVD is also thinking about integrating software-enabled features and functionality into its products. Creaney said his team is thinking about integrations like near-field communication (NFC) while still keeping it fairly simplistic for consumers. Vapes can get much smarter and the technology already is out there, but the company first needs to mature its raw material supply chain to the point where new features can be implemented in cost-effective ways.
AVD currently works with more than 400 brand partners. At the end of the day, Creaney is focused on creating a positive experience for passionate cannabis users. His products are in customers' hands every day, and he's doing the best he can to make sure that experience is seamless.
- What it was like to move from architectural design to cannabis product development. (1:58)
- How he came to Advanced Vapor Devices. (3:32)
- How he brings new cannabis products to market, from napkin sketch to the shelf. (6:22)
- What are the problems that need solving in the cannabis industry. (7:48)
- Vape Gate (8:55)
- The major differences between vapes for cannabis and tobacco. (10:30)
- How long it takes to bring a new product to market. (13:27)
- Rapid prototyping and 3D printing's role in cannabis product development. (14:40)
- Integrating software into hardware experiences. (17:55)
- Working with brand partners. (20:59)
- Future growth for the cannabis vape market. (23:23)
- AVD's most successful product launches so far. (25:42)
- What's next for AVD. (27:52)
Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].