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Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies

Hype Cycle Research Provides a Cross-Industry Perspective on Potentially Transformative Technologies



Media tablets, private cloud computing, and 3D flat-panel TVs and displays are some of the technologies that have moved into the Peak of Inflated Expectations, according to the 2010 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle by Gartner, Inc.

Gartner has examined the maturity of 1,800 technologies and trends in 75 technology, topic, and industry areas. Each of the 75 individual Hype Cycle reports provides a snapshot of a key area of IT or business. Senior executives, CIOs, strategists, business developers and technology planners should consider these technologies when developing emerging business and technology portfolios. The "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" is the longest-running annual Hype Cycle, providing a cross-industry perspective on the technologies and trends that IT managers should consider in developing emerging-technology portfolios (see Figure 1).

"The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies features technologies that are the focus of attention in the IT industry because of particularly high levels of hype, or those that may not be broadly acknowledged but which we believe have the potential for significant impact," said Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

"High-impact technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2010 include private cloud computing, augmented reality, media tablets (such as the iPad), wireless power, 3D flat-panel TVs and displays, and activity streams, while cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users," Ms. Fenn said.

Transformational technologies that will hit the mainstream in less than five years include media tablets, cloud computing and cloud/Web platforms. Longer term, beyond the five-year horizon, 3D printing, context delivery architectures, mobile robots, autonomous vehicles, terahertz waves and human augmentation will be transformational across a range of industries, according to Gartner.

Figure 1 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2010

Source: Gartner (August 2010)

Key themes emerging from this year's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies include:

·         User experience and interaction. New styles of user interaction will drive new usage patterns, giving organizations opportunities to innovate how information and transactions are delivered to customers and employees. This includes devices such as media tablets and 3D flat-panel TVs and displays, and interaction styles such as gesture recognition and tangible user interfaces.

·         Augmented reality, context and the real-world Web. The migration of the Web phenomenon — and technology in general — beyond the desktop and into the context of people's everyday lives is creating new opportunities for personalized and contextually aware information access. Augmented reality is a hot topic in the mobile space, with platforms and services on iPhone and Android platforms, and it represents the next generation as location-aware applications move toward the plateau. Other elements such as 4G standard, sensor networks and context delivery architecture are evolving more slowly, but will play a key role in expanding the impact of IT in the physical world.

·         Data-driven decisions. The quantity and variety of digital data continue to explode, along with the opportunities to analyze and gain insight from new sources such as location information and social media. The techniques themselves, such as predictive analytics, are relatively well established in many cases; the value resides in applying them in new applications such as social analytics and sentiment analysis.

·         Cloud-computing implications. The adoption and impact of cloud computing continues to expand. In Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, cloud computing overall appears just topping the peak, and private cloud computing is still rising. Cloud/Web platforms are featured, along with mobile application stores, to acknowledge the growing interest in platforms for application development and delivery.

·         Value from the periphery. A number of technologies, such as mobile robots and 3D printing, are not yet widely used, but they can already provide significant value when used appropriately.

"The Hype Cycle reports are a convenient way to look at a set of relevant technologies and trends," said Ms. Fenn. "Many Gartner clients draw from multiple Hype Cycles, augmented with industry- or company-specific topics to create their own Hype Cycles and Priority Matrices as part of their annual technology planning. Technology providers use Hype Cycles as a way to understand the likely market reaction to their products and services, while investors watch for technologies that are on the rise in a Hype Cycle to try to catch them before they move into mainstream adoption."

Gartner introduced the idea of the Hype Cycle in 1995 as a commentary on the common pattern of human response to technology. Since then, the use of Hype Cycles has expanded both within Gartner and by its clients, as a graphical way to track multiple technologies within an IT domain or technology portfolio. Gartner's Hype Cycle characterizes the typical progression of an emerging technology, from over-enthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain. Each phase is characterized by distinct indicators of market, investment and adoption activities.

Additional information is available in "Gartner's Hype Cycle Special Report for 2010" at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/hype-cycles/index.jsp. The Special Report includes a video in which Ms. Fenn provides more details regarding this year's Hype Cycles, as well links to the 75 Hype Cycle reports, and a free copy of the "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2010."

Mastering the Hype Cycle
Ms. Fenn is co-author of the Gartner book "Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Adopt the Right Innovation at the Right Time," published by Harvard Business Press. Ms. Fenn and Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow, explain a market-tested approach that offers a smarter way for
companies to sort through the hype and choose the right innovations at the right time. Information about the book is available on Gartner's website at www.gartner.com/hypecycle. The analysts provide regular commentary on the blog, and there are additional resources available on the site as well.

The book can be ordered at http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Hype-Cycle-Innovation-Gartner/dp/1422121100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1216662511&sr=8-1. The book is also available for the Kindle, and can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Hype-Cycle-Innovation-Gartner/dp/B002D48GN4/ref=kinw_dp_ke?ie=UTF8&qid=1216662511&sr=8-1

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