Season 4, Post 50: Janus time, 2022 edition
It has become an annual tradition for the Roman God of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages and endings to adorn the title of our final blog post of the year. We find Janus an appropriate symbol since he is usually depicted as having two faces, looking both to the future and to the past.
After a 12-month period where we’ve seen war in Europe, the highest inflation in a generation and a corresponding policy response, it is at least encouraging to see that the future trends we follow continue to march on inexorably. It’s only logical then to reflect on where we’ve come from and also where we may be going.
Looking back, while healthcare was the most prominent topic featured last year in our Blog as the world continued to grapple with COVID, the story of 2022, without doubt, was the growth in prominence of renewable energy. This was a function not just of Russia’s hostile invasion of Ukraine, which has forced every nation (in Europe at least) to reconsider its energy strategy, but also the result of record-high temperatures. Our most read and commented upon Blog piece of 2022 was #29, coincidentally written on the hottest date of the year in London and entitled, “what, no global warming?” Related to this topic, we visited industry conferences in Bilbao and Munich to learn more about wind and solar (blog pieces #14 and #19 respectively). Among your author’s personal highlights of the year, a 6-day business trip to the US – his first since before the pandemic – was probably the stand-out, featuring in Blog posts #20 and #21.
Looking forward, we expect renewables to remain firmly in the vanguard during 2023. However, more column inches may be devoted to a host of emerging topics of increasing importance. Last year, we highlighted the intense media speculation around Web 3.0 and metaverse. The jury clearly remains out on both these topics, particularly after the 60%+ falls in both the price of Bitcoin and Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) witnessed year-to-date. For 2023, we have more confidence in the emerging credibility of drones and quantum computing to name but two significant topics from a list of many. We wrote on the former in our most recent detailed theme piece. Expect to see an expansion of commercialised drone delivery services and even potential trials of people being transported using electronic vertical take-off and landing devices. We first wrote on quantum in 2017 and featured it in Blog post #25 this year, but 2023 should see more practical applications of quantum computing being deployed. Data keeps growing, but has no value unless stored, secured and analysed. Quantum can help markedly in the latter respect.
Thank you all for your interest and support over the past year. The Future Trends Blog will return in early January.
19 December 2022
The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.
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Alex Gunz, Fund Manager
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