Gartner and the Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies

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I could not really fail to highlight the release of this report! It’s one of those reports that you know you just have to read though you equally know that you really want to read it to argue your own opinion on at least some of the topics! It’s a tough call on those who […]

I could not really fail to highlight the release of this report! It’s one of those reports that you know you just have to read though you equally know that you really want to read it to argue your own opinion on at least some of the topics! It’s a tough call on those who have to product these reports knowing that all the ‘experts’ are out there just waiting to pick a fight with you!
The challenge is not the topics, in fact I reckon they have done a pretty good job of highlighting technologies across the width of Industry, even though some, like solid state drives, are a little out of the playing field for my tastes. No, it’s the timings of the so called ‘S’ curve as the technology moves through five states; Emerging (interesting to enthusiasts); into Hype (does everything and more than you ever wanted); to Trough of disillusionment (no doesn’t do everything and its over sold); into Rising market (but it works really well in the right areas); to finally Plateau (mature and everyone uses it now).

It’s notoriously difficult to get this right as in my experience it all depends on whether or not a strong player will emerge to really get a successful product to market and therefore speed up the whole adoption cycle. Gartner do list the companies that they think are players in each of the new technology areas, but what I believe is making this harder to predict these days is the tendency for a major IT vendor to buy the start-ups at an earlier stage. Cisco has been the absolute master of making this tactic work, and propelled some technologies forward much faster through its extremely effective ‘go to market’ capabilities.
Major IT vendors choose to use Second World, but that’s way different from them having a virtual product, and guess what? Virtual Worlds are listed as going down. BUT pretty well every major IT vendor has, or is launching, a product set for Web 2.0 and most importantly are tying this together with their existing products and installed base. So yup Gartner agrees that Web 2.0 is going to have some trough of disillusionment and then return big time within two years to change the enterprise.
However my personal tracking method for change says that if the new technology is adequately linked to the old installed base with the buyer and business case being made by the existing owner of the installed base then it goes into the market faster. The issue is that the mainstream adoption is now a ‘cut down’ version of the original start –ups innovation game changing products. Taking my rule of thumb then Web 2.0 products linked to existing portals or collaboration tools will be in fast, Web 2.0 leading edge to really change the way of working, and that means the Forrester Research view on applying Web 2.0 to create a very different business organisation and go to market capability which they call Business Technology will take a little longer.
I have another blog posting coming up on the whole topic of which IT Industry vendors are playing with which new technologies and for what.

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