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Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2009: What’s Peaking, What’s Troughing?


Gartner maintains something called hype cycles for various technologies. What’s a hype cycle? The hype cycle provides a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends IT managers should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios.

UPDATE: Link to Gartner’s 2010 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle

Here are the five stages of the hype cycle:

1. Technology Trigger
The first phase of a Hype Cycle is the “technology trigger” or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest. A “technology trigger” is breakthrough, public demonstration, product launch or other event generates significant press and industry interest.

2. Peak of Inflated Expectations
In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.

3. Trough of Disillusionment
Technologies enter the “trough of disillusionment” because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.

4. Slope of Enlightenment
Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the “slope of enlightenment” and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology.

5. Plateau of Productivity
A technology reaches the “plateau of productivity” as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations.

On July 21, Gartner released its omnibus Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2009. This report covers a wide range of industries, from flat panel displays to home health providers to cloud computing.

Honestly, it’s fascinating to see how Gartner positions the various industries along the cycle. Here is 2009’s hype cycle for emerging technologies:

Gartner Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle 2009

Boy, that’s a full hype cycle isn’t it? The report itself is chock full of analysis and forecasts for the various technologies. Here are a few notes of mine from reading it.

Social Software Suites: It’s clear that the market is moving toward more applications bundled into Enterprise 2.0 offerings. As Nikos Drakos and Anthony Bradley write, “we expect that successful products will continue to assimilate new functionality.” The report notes that Social Software Suites have tipped past the peak of inflated expectations.

One observation made by Drakos and Bradley resonates with me:

In the longer term, many companies will have social software technology supplied by their strategic workplace vendor, perhaps augmented with additional third-party products. Accordingly, industry is starting to move from general-purpose suites to more targeted products, concentrating on “horizontal” social business challenges, such as idea engines, prediction markets and answer marketplaces.

Putting Enterprise 2.0 to work on specific problems was something I wrote about as well recently in Enterprise 2.0: Culture Is as Culture Does. If you’re not addressing specific problems as a social software vendor, you’re basically angling to replace the company intranet or portal.

Finally, note that standalone wikis and corporate blogging are in the Slope of Enlightenment. Those apps are also part of social software suites.

You can see the Gartner Social Software Hype Cycle 2009 graph on the Spigit blog.

Idea Management: Idea management is further along the curve, knocking on the door of the Slope of enlightenment. What’s interesting to me is how much the idea management space is really overlapping the social software space. Indeed, read the quote above. According to my interpretation, this means that social software is moving more toward tackling horizontal challenges, “such as idea engines.”

Speaking from my own Spigit experience, this quote rings true:

Industries that emphasize new product development were early adopters of idea management tools. In 2009, service industries and government are increasingly adopting innovation and idea management practices.

Microblogging: With Twitter’s rapid ascension in the public consciousness, it’s no surprise that the Enterprise 2.0 vendors are rapidly adding microblogging to their suites. Analyst Jeffrey Mann predicts that “by 2011, enterprise microblogging will be a standard feature in 80% of the social software platforms on the market.”

I like Mann’s advice to corporate clients reading this report:

Adopt social media sooner rather than later, because the greatest risk lies in failure to engage and being left mute in a debate in which your voice must be heard.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is at the top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations. It’s hot. I’ve seen bloggers debate what constitutes “cloud computing”. This definition by David Mitchell Smith seems as good as any:

Gartner defines “cloud computing” as a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers using Internet technologies.

Smith notes that cloud computing is actually quite varied, and “that one dot on a Hype Cycle cannot adequately represent all that is cloud computing.” The report does say that cloud computing will be transformational. Yup.

E-Book Readers: So, have ya heard of e-book readers? When they debuted, I personally didn’t think much of them. I mean, what’s wrong with books? Turns out, there’s a great market for them. I still haven’t bought one, but that doesn’t mean much.

And this report is illustrative of the unexpected success of e-book readers. Here’s what the Gartner analysts said for the appearance of e-book readers at the top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations:

This positioning has been reassessed from the prior year’s Hype Cycle. E-book readers saw serious hype in the early days. These largely failed to capture the attention of the consumer and fell into the trough never to emerge.

Those are a few notes from the report. It’s 55 pages, and there are technology-specific versions of them as well. Gartner always has an interesting take.

I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.

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About Hutch Carpenter
Senior Consultant for HYPE Innovation (hypeinnovation.com)

24 Responses to Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2009: What’s Peaking, What’s Troughing?

  1. chris says:

    Am I missing something, or is it interesting that there really isn’t anything related to enterprise software, other than perhaps cloud computing?

  2. Bob says:

    Dude, are you aware that this post is a major copyright infringement?

    • Christine says:

      Quoting is copyright infringement? “The use of relatively short direct quotes from a published work does not usually require permission from the copyright holder as it typically falls under the “fair use” provision.”

      http://facpub.stjohns.edu/~roigm/plagiarism/Copyright%20Infringement.html

  3. Andy Piper says:

    Interesting while it lasted!

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  13. AT Kishore says:

    The report is good, informative and fairly non-hype in its analysis; recommend this to all geeks and experts to explore more about the business opportunities that can be pursued from the same

  14. Pingback: Technology Hype Cycle

  15. mazz says:

    Andreo, vyextrahujte mi z toho článku ten graf Gartner Hype cycle
    děkuji, pm

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  18. Pingback: Gartner Hype Cycle 2009 – Emerging Technologies « Udayan Banerjee's Blog – From The Other Side

  19. Udayan Banerjee says:

    Any idea when 2010 hype cycle on emerging technology is due?

    • It’s out. I’m prohibited from blogging about it, but Gartner has made it accessible on its site here (pdf):

      http://www.gartner.com/it/content/1395400/1395423/august_4_whats_hot_hype_2010_jfenn.pdf

      • Udayan Banerjee says:

        Thanks.

        Here is my take on the report – http://setandbma.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/gartner-hype-cycle-2010-emerging-technologies/

    • we are cloud says:

      Similarly, we did a quick summary of the Gartner webinar entitled “Emerging Technology Hype Cycle 2010: What’s Hot and What’s Not”, presented by Jackie Fenn, you might be interested in reading.

      http://bimehq.com/cloud-computing/analysis-gartners-emerging-technology-hype-cycle-2010-hot/

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