Understanding The Gartner Hype Cycle
Gartner have been publishing the hype cycle on an annual basis since 1995 as a way of monitoring emerging technologies. We think it is a great way to keep an eye on some of the broader tech trends that are, or shortly will be, influencing the marketplace.
In a nutshell the cycle illustrates the typical pattern all technologies go through as they move from the moment they first catch the public’s eye to viable market product. Though this does exclude what we might call ‘the desert of indifference’ most technologies have to go through before they are recognise, the cycle is still a useful reference point for the technologies businesses should have on their radar.
A quick summary of the points on the cycle:
1. "Technology Trigger"
This is the first time a new technology gets it’s “breakthrough” into the public eye, and can be a product launch or other event that generates significant media interest.
2. "Peak of Inflated Expectations"
This is when the new idea takes it’s hold in the mainstream and generates a torrent of excitement, much of it based on perceived potential rather than any large scale real-world application.
3. "Trough of Disillusionment"
Massive over-expectation tends to lead to disappointment as reality kicks in. Trends die quickly and fashionable ideas are quickly replaced. The mainstream stops talking about the technology and moves on to the next hot topic.
4. "Slope of Enlightenment"
Whilst the media may have moved on, some businesses will stick with the idea and continue to experiment with and refine the technology to understand it’s practical application.
5. "Plateau of Productivity"
If the Technology does indeed have practical benefits and these become widely accepted then it has reached the plateau. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in small iterations rather than leaps’, establishing its position in the marketplace depending on it’s proven utility.