Gartner's Hype Cycles highlight the relative maturity of technologies across a wide range of IT domains, targeting different IT roles and responsibilities. Each Hype Cycle provides a snapshot of the position of technologies relative to a market, region or industry, identifying which technologies are hyped, which are suffering the inevitable disillusionment and which are stable enough to allow for a reasonable understanding of when and how to use them appropriately (see "Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, 2005" ).
Ten years ago, Gartner introduced the idea of the Hype Cycle as a commentary on the common pattern of human response to technology (see Figure 1 and "When to Leap on the Hype Cycle" ). Something about the pattern resonated deeply with technology planners, and Gartner received requests the following year for an update. Every year since, Gartner has published an Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle and applied the model to an ever-increasing number of IT and business domains.
Source: Gartner (January 2005)
The technologies on the 1995 Hype Cycle have evolved; wireless communications have exploded into hundreds of underlying technologies, standards and applications, and the information superhighway has manifested itself through the Internet and World Wide Web to drive ubiquitous information access, new forms of community and whole industries built around online commerce. Some technologies didn't fare so well; videoconferencing, handwriting recognition and speech recognition are still featured 10 years later on the 2005 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle as they struggle toward mainstream adoption (see Figure 2 and "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2005" ).
Source: Gartner (August 2005)
Although the specific technologies change over the years, the Hype Cycle's underlying message endures: Don't invest in a technology just because it is being hyped or ignore a technology just because it is not living up to early overexpectations. Be selectively aggressive — identify which technologies could be beneficial to your business, and evaluate them earlier in the Hype Cycle. For technologies that will have a lower impact on your business, let others learn the difficult lessons, and adopt the technologies when they are more mature.
This year, the Hype Cycle Special Report contains 68 Hype Cycles published in four sets: Communications and IT Services; Infrastructure and Operations; Software and Applications; and Regions and Vertical Sectors.
Communications and IT Services
Communications and IT Services Hype Cycles present the evolving worlds of wired and wireless networking, call center and speech technologies, and the latest assessment of the IT services market, with its frenzy to deliver globally across the spectrum of IT and business process services.
Wireless technologies in particular continue to evolve rapidly, including an ongoing proliferation of 802.11 standards and a level of development of software and services that outpaces that of the underlying hardware. In addition, confidence is returning to the broader communications and networking sector, with greater investment by vendors for product differentiation, resulting in accelerated technology advancements:
Infrastructure and Operations
Infrastructure and Operations Hype Cycles include hardware, operating systems and key infrastructure technologies, as well as infrastructure management issues.
This year's set of Hype Cycles show how a growing focus on a key topic can gives rise to a rapid expansion of technologies, standards and applications. The recent explosion of interest in security means that the Information Security Hype Cycle is now joined by drill-down Hype Cycles on data security, biometrics, identity access management, infrastructure protection and vulnerability management:
Software and Applications
Software and Applications Hype Cycles span the core IT domains of application development, integration and architecture, through portals and workplace technologies, and into business applications such as customer relationship management and supply chain management.
At this point of industry evolution, business application innovation is critically dependent on innovative infrastructure technologies, and the Business Application Technologies Hype Cycle reflects the impact, penetration and maturity of such technologies in this context. Other Hype Cycles demonstrate how technologies such as radio frequency identification have expanded in scope enough to warrant their own Hype Cycles, which cover a range of subtechnologies and applications:
Regions and Vertical Sectors
Regional Hype Cycles address the significant disparity of technology adoption across geographic regions. Many technologies depend on the existence of an ecosystem that develops differently around the world. User adoption and needs can differ because of political, cultural and financial factors.
Vertical-Sector Hype Cycles reflect the status of technologies in a particular industry. Similar to regions, different industries have varying business needs. Thus, the positioning of technologies may well be different on an industry Hype Cycle — earlier or later, or maturing faster or slower — than on a Hype Cycle that offers a generic, cross-industry perspective. These Hype Cycles also include technologies and trends specific to an industry that do not appear on other Hype Cycles.
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