Two Trends to Look Out for in 2022

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In today’s Money Morning…HR tech: more integral than ever…a new reality for a new era…two sides of the same coin that will bring more people into digital worlds…and more…

Yesterday, we looked back at some of the big financial themes for 2021. A year that has delivered plenty of ups and downs for investors.

Looking ahead to 2022, though, the future is uncertain to say the least.

We could certainly see the bull market make a return if supply chains can sort out their issues. Or, perhaps, the pessimism will mount as Omicron spreads and inflation fails to be tamed.

Either way, don’t be surprised if volatility will be a defining feature of early next year.

When it comes to trends, though, I expect a few to stand out regardless of which direction markets head.

So let’s talk about two of the more prominent trends to look out for…

HR tech: more integral than ever

The first big trend that I want to discuss is HR tech.

A sector that is somewhat similar to fintech in terms of its goals, but obviously with a different market focus: labour. Because as the past two years have already shown, the workplace has likely changed forever.

As Fast Company recently reported:

We used to think of flexibility as flexible work schedules; the ability to have half-day Fridays or rearrange hours across the workweek. This is outdated.

Today, when employees say they want flexibility, what they really mean is that they want to be able to get their work done anytime and anywhere. It’s no longer about rearranging hours, but about throwing out the idea of hours altogether.

Add on top of this the influx of remote working, digital meetings, and online collaboration — and you can see how different things are. Forced innovation has seen businesses either adapt or die. And while a lot of progress has been made, anyone who has been working in these conditions knows there is a lot of room for improvement still.

That’s why I’m expecting new competitors to emerge in the HR tech sector — start-ups that could dramatically change how employers and employees define their working environments. Just like how we’ve seen mobile payments and BNPL take off compared to traditional finance operators.

Expect a whole lot of investment in AI, machine learning, data analytics, and blockchain in this regard. These are just a few frontier technologies that will be a part of this HR tech revolution.

All of which could lead to some exciting developments for both workers and investors.

How to Limit Your Risks While Trading Volatile Stocks. Learn more.

A new reality for a new era

The other big trend that I feel obliged to mention is augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Two sides of the same coin that will bring more people into digital worlds. Or, as Facebook wants you to call it, the Metaverse.

Again, this sort of technology has been around for quite some time. Several companies now make and sell VR headsets, including Facebook’s own Oculus. As for AR, well, you can find some novel apps on your phone that are experimenting with the technology. Not to mention a few proper headsets that are in development as well.

However, the reason I believe you should watch this sector closely next year is because of Apple.

Because, you see, Apple has been working on its own version of a combined VR and AR headset — their latest original device in quite some time.

The reason I think this headset in particular is worth paying attention to is because of Apple’s ability to find a market for their products. Whereas most VR/AR headsets are centred on gaming, I expect we’ll see Apple try to bridge the gap into more productive areas.

This is something that Microsoft has been trying to do with its HoloLens — a device that famously has secured a US$22 billion contract with the US Army.

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 usher in immersive workplaces and more.

Just don’t expect it all to happen overnight.

Like the internet, I think it will be a gradual transition into the virtual and augmented reality boom. But with the Apple headset slated for a late-2022 or early-2023 release, it is likely coming sooner than some expect.

Just one of what is bound to be many exciting new opportunities for investors in the new year.

For now, though, from all of us at Money Morning, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Regards,

Ryan Clarkson-Ledward Signature

Ryan Clarkson-Ledward,
Editor, Money Morning

PS: Ryan is also the Editor of 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 telling subscribers right now, click here.

About Ryan Clarkson-Ledward

Ryan Clarkson-Ledward is an Editor at Money Morning.

Ryan holds degrees in both communication and international business. He helps bring Money Morning readers the latest market updates, both locally and abroad. Ryan tackles all the issues investors need to know about that the mainstream media neglects.

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