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3 Unique Industries to Invest In

The new year is often seen as a time of change or renewal. It is an opportunity to take a look at things in people’s lives or businesses and reevaluate them. One of the things you may take the time to look at and consider is your investments. There are new opportunities appearing all the time. Companies continue to release new products, government policies are enacted or updated, and industries evolve to match popular trends.

There are several industries with new developments on the horizon, and now might be the right time to invest in them. Here, we’ve gathered three industries to keep an eye on in the upcoming year:

Artificial Intelligence

Just a few years ago, “artificial intelligence” seemed like something that was only possible in science fiction series like Star Trek, Doctor Who, or maybe The Twilight Zone. Recently, however, several tech giants have started their own initiatives or formed partnerships in a serious effort to develop software that can think and make complex decisions on its own.

When investing in artificial intelligence, there are actually so many different initiatives in development that it’s necessary to narrow it down even further. For example, companies have already begun implementing in medical devices, mobile devices, and even cars as the race to create a self-driving vehicle continues. Two of the most popular devices sold this past Christmas were the Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers, both of which listen to user requests and attempt to interpret them in context. Meanwhile, the healthcare industry is predicted to grow faster than any other market in the field of AI in the near future, with AI being developed to help care for patients, enterprise imaging, and even discover new drugs.

Vaping/E-Cigarettes

Cigarettes and other traditional forms of tobacco have grown more and more unpopular over the years, and many smokers have been looking for an alternative. Many people have been turning to e-cigarettes and “vaping” as a different option, whether it is part of a lifestyle change or simply to avoid the stigma that traditional cigarettes bring with them. E-cigarettes and vape mods are battery-powered devices that hold cartridges of liquid nicotine, or “vape juice,” which the devices heat.

The industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with the number of retail outlets for these devices increasing to about 8,500 in April of 2016. According to an analysis from Wells Fargo, sales of the devices and supplies related to them got as high as $3.5 billion.

ESports

ESports, also known as competitive gaming, is a booming industry already, but in the next few years, it’s set to explode. According to research firm NewZoo, the eSports arena could surpass $1 billion dollars as soon as next year. Meanwhile, ESPN reported that there were 205 million people watching and playing eSports in 2014—enough that the eSports population would form the fifth largest country in the world, right behind Indonesia. Since then, the number has increased dramatically each year.

Streaming services like Twitch (owned by Amazon), YouTube, and Facebook Live have dedicated considerable resources to build up the eSports industry. Meanwhile, game developers like Blizzard, Valve, and Riot Games have promoted the competitive gaming scene by partnering with companies to hold world championship tournaments and even form complete leagues around their various products.

Traditional sports franchises have even begun investing in eSports. In September of 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers purchased a majority share in Team Dignitas. Meanwhile, that same week, Apex, a group which includes several NBA team owners as well as former NBA star Magic Johnson, purchased Team Liquid, a leading team across many different eSports.

Brands will also occasionally sponsor individual players, rather than teams. At the moment, professional gamers will seem to switch teams at the drop of a hat, and individual players carry more weight behind them than the teams they have joined. With upcoming initiatives like Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League, an attempt to make the competitive scene of their popular Overwatch first-person shooter more like traditional sports leagues, that may change. In the system Blizzard has proposed, players would sign more formal contracts and receive a steady salary and benefits rather than depending on the winnings from each event to pay the bills.

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