In today’s Money Morning… HR technology: More integral than ever… A new reality for a new era… Two sides of the same coin that will bring more people into the digital world… more…
Yesterday, we took a look at some of the big financial topics for 2021. A year that has given a lot of ups and downs for investors.
However, looking ahead to 2022, the future is uncertain to say the least.
If supply chains can sort out their issues, we can certainly see the bulls bounce back. Or, perhaps, pessimism will increase as Omicron expands and fails to control inflation.
Either way, don’t be surprised if volatility will be the defining feature of early next year.
When it comes to trends, however, I expect a few to stand out regardless of the direction of the market.
So let’s talk about two more major trends you should be paying attention to…
HR technology: more integral than ever
The first big trend I want to discuss is HR technology.
One sector that is somewhat similar to fintech in terms of its goals, but with a distinctly different market focus: labor. Because as the past two years have already shown, the workplace has probably changed forever.
As Fast Company recently reported:
,We used to think of flexibility in terms of flexible work schedules; Ability to rearrange hours for half a day to be Friday or throughout the work week. It’s old.
,Today, when employees say they want flexibility, what they really mean is that they want to get their work done anytime and anywhere. It is no longer about rearranging the hours, but about cutting out the idea of hours altogether.,
On top of that add the influx of remote work, digital meetings and online collaboration – and you can see how different things are. Forced innovation has seen businesses either adapt or die. And while much progress has been made, anyone who is working under these conditions knows that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
That’s why I look forward to the emergence of new competitors in the HR tech sector – start-ups that could dramatically change how employers and employees define their work environments. Just like we have seen mobile payments and BNPL grow in comparison to traditional finance operators.
Expect a lot of investment in AI, machine learning, data analytics and blockchain in this regard. These are just some of the major technologies that will be a part of this HR technological revolution.
All of which could lead to some exciting developments for both workers and investors.
Learn more how to limit your risk when trading volatile stocks.
A new truth for a new era
The other big trend I’m obliged to mention is augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Two sides of the same coin that will bring more people to the digital world. Or, as Facebook wants you to call it the Metaverse.
Again, this kind of technology has been around for quite some time. Several companies now manufacture and sell VR headsets, including Facebook’s own Oculus. As for AR, well, you can find some new apps on your phone that are experimenting with the technology. Not to mention some proper headsets that are also in development.
However, I believe you should be watching this area closely next year, the reason being Apple.
Because, you see, Apple is working on its own version of a combined VR and AR headset — their latest original device in quite some time.
I think this headset deserves special attention because of Apple’s ability to find markets for its products. While most VR/AR headsets are focused on gaming, I expect we’ll see Apple try to bridge the gap in more productive areas.
This is something Microsoft is trying to do with its HoloLens – a device that famously secured a US$22 billion contract with the US military.
That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple try to corner the market for designers, engineers, or other relevant industries — sectors that could use these headsets to create immersive workplaces and more.
Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Like the Internet, I think it will be a gradual transition to the virtual and augmented reality boom. But with the Apple headset likely to be released in late 2022 or early 2023, it’s likely to arrive sooner than some expected.
There are going to be many exciting new opportunities for investors in the new year.
For now, though, on behalf of all of us money morningWe wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Editor, money morning
PS: Ryan is also the editor of the Australian Small-Cap Investigator, a stock tipping newsletter that hunts down promising small-cap stocks. For information on how to subscribe and see what Ryan’s customers are saying right now, click here.