Recently, I had a chance to take in an online presentation from Gartner, the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. The topic was “Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle for 2013.” The hype cycle model as well as this year’s predictions provide valuable insight to business processes.
If you’re not familiar with the term “hype cycle,” just think back to your Business 101 classes and conjure up an image of the S-shaped sigmoid life cycle curve. Jackie Fenn and Hung Le Hong, Research VPs for Gartner identified where emerging technologies reside along the life cycle curve on a path to commercialization and profitability. The hype cycle helps you answer such questions as:
- What technologies are ripe for investment?
- How ready are those technologies for commercial development?
- How are products you are interested in positioned relative to other emerging technologies?
Here’s a look at the hype cycle model showing the rise and fall of expectations that emerging technologies typically experience as they progress through time.
Innovative and emerging technologies receive a great deal of attention when they are first revealed and the mass media hype begins. Initial press coverage generates exposure, interest and inflated expectations.
In the second stage, when the product or service reaches the peak of inflated expectations—be it predictive analytics, 3D scanners, or vehicles that drive themselves—it is on the cover of news magazines, referenced on television news, Tweeted, blogged about, and joked about by late-night comedians.
Inevitably, what happens when this new technology can’t quite meet the hype, whether due to costs, scarce resources, or other challenges? You probably know the cycle well – next comes the trough of disillusionment. These can be the dark days in the labs and among the sales force promoting the new technology and the length of time that products languish in this stage can vary immensely.
When the technology is finally ready for broad implementation, it has reached the slope of enlightenment, which is followed by the plateau of productivity. It is important to note that technological developments progress through this process at various speeds, from less than one year to more than ten years.
Here is Gartner’s assessment of the emerging technologies positioning on the hype cycle for 2013.
As you can see there are nearly 20 new technologies with expectations that are rising. I just wanted to point out that at this stage, when the news services are brimming with stories, a good information professional can help you sift through the noise, so you can bettter understand the underlying fundamentals.
Take a minute to digest the breadth of the technologies that are emerging. One theme that connects the technologies together is humans augmented by smart machines. Here are some quick examples:
- Jawbone’s Up wristbands
- Google’s Project Glass
- Baxter Mobile Robots
- Audi’s Connect with self-driving functions
So the next time you see the “next big thing” showing up in the news channel, you might want to refer back to this graph to better understand what the fuss is all about.
If you’d like more in-depth tools or to listen to the Gartner presentation, you can find it here.