I had an email sent to me during this week from a subscriber to my premium investment service, Revolutionary Tech Investor.
The reader was asking me about one of my tips, which is currently a bit over 50% above the recommended price. They were asking if they should invest into it or not at its current price.
I can’t tell you the company of course. But I can tell you it’s involved in the robotics industry. And it got me thinking more about robotics and the changing nature of ‘work’.
What is work? Is it the same as it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago?
Of course not. It’s radically different. But I tend to think most people don’t recognise it because, though there’s been a radical shift, it’s been incremental.
It’s like if you’re on a fitness and healthy eating regime to lose weight. You see yourself everyday and don’t really notice the weight falling off. But when you see someone you haven’t seen in a while it’s a shock to them. They can see the difference immediately.
The changing nature of work is much the same. You don’t see it in your own job. When you do it every day you rarely notice the shift. But for an outsider looking in it’s easy to see some of the radical changes in industry over the last few years.
At the moment I’m planning a wedding. My own. My partner Hayley and I are going through the process of arranging the million-and-one things for it. Compounding the issue is the fact that half the family live in the UK, half live in Australia.
Anyway, one of the things I’m looking into at the moment is getting some suits made. I had tossed up the idea of hiring suits. But between my groomsmen and I, getting off the rack suits just doesn’t work. Instead it’d be far better to get some made.
Now the problem I have is I’m here in the UK and my groomsmen are in Australia. Bummer right? Wrong.
In the ‘good old’ days to get a suit made you’d pop into a tailor and get measured and fitted. But that’s not how the 21st century works.
I’ve been looking online at online tailors. These are online based businesses where you can fully customise a suit to your specific measurements. Now that will probably draw the ire of bankers and ‘traditionalists’. But if you’re thinking ‘oh no, it’ll just be some cheapo rip off’, get with the program.
These businesses have access to the same materials and craftsmanship that your typical tailor in Collins Street might have. But they don’t carry the overheads and they make the customer experience, simpler, easier and faster.
There are a lot of benefits to it. And to be fair, it’s likely it will put some tailors out of business. But that’s what happens in a modern world with new competition.
Now these online suit tailors aren’t going to be stock market darlings anytime soon. But some of the world’s big online retailers are taking these self-customising technologies and growing their own businesses.
Virtual dressing rooms are areas in which PayPal (soon to be spun off from eBay [NASDAQ:EBAY]) and Amazon [NASDAQ:AMZN] are investing. A platform like Etsy [NASDAQ:ETSY] provides access to thousands of small retailers. And many, even most of them can make and customise just about anything you want.
The world of retail has shifted online. That’s not new news. But the way in which we can now customise and tailor goods online is something that is new, and that’s going to change how we shop — again.
When we tried to get an appointment we were told that there were none available that day. We asked to make an appointment for the next day. The response we got absolutely blew me away.
The nurse said they only take appointment bookings on the day. It’s the new system they’re using. New system? That only takes bookings on the day. I couldn’t believe it.
Furthermore it was futile to call first thing in the morning to make an appointment. We’d have to go down first thing, queue up and then try and make one.
Now it’s not the nurses or the doctors’ fault for that matter. It’s the government and the whole system. There simply aren’t enough nurses and doctors to see everyone that needs it. And often is the case they are seeing people that probably don’t really need a doctor’s appointment.
There is a surprisingly easy fix to all of this. Telehealth. The ability to see doctors or nurses via online systems. There are companies out there that are developing advanced telehealth systems to achieve this goal.
They’re as important to the healthcare system as hospitals themselves.
Companies that exist in this sector include the likes of Anthem [NYSE:ANTM] (they’ve just got a cyber security problem at the moment!), UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] and even on Aussie shores, Telstra [ASX:TLS] is getting into telehealth.
The simple fact is there are hundreds of industries that are in the midst of rapid change. The way in which we used to work is changing with it. You don’t have to be present in a workplace like you used to. Remote, teleprescence systems are enabling a greater flexibility in where and how we work.
This shift is actually changing the way we as human interact with each other. It’s not the death of human interaction. It’s an evolution in human interaction. And it’s a revolution in what you might think of as ‘work’.
This is a big topic, and something that I think there’s far more to discuss. It will be an ongoing issue I come back to regularly. The world is changing our attitudes. The way we live in the world is changing too. It’s scary because there’s a lot of change. But it’s exciting too as that change presents some big opportunities for investors.
Editor, Money Morning