Explore the Future of Consumer Devices

January 12, 2016

Contributor: Jo Bennett

Gartner Hype Cycle shows why CIO's should keep bluetooth beacons, drones and smart fabrics on their radar screens.

From the momentum of iPads and iPhones in the enterprise to the launch of Facebook at Work, the lines between consumer and business technologies are dissolving. Staying close to the pulse of consumer innovation is now business as usual for CIOs.

To do this, you can follow news from CES. You can also review the Hype Cycle for Consumer Devices, 2015.


Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: “Question if each technology could add significant value to your business. Consider how others in your industry may leverage these technologies.”

The Hype Cycle Priority Matrix charts “Gartner's perception of the benefit of each technology against the length of time we expect it to take for each to reach mainstream adoption,” said Ms. Escherich. Here are some examples:


What do a CES beacon scavenger hunt held at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and peer networking connections forged at a Gartner event have in common?

In both instances, beacon technology — which started as a simple homing device that you could attach to your key ring to locate that lost set of keys, for example — made the experience possible.

Apple led the charge in developing protocols that enable more contextual awareness in the application of beacons, explained Mark Hung, Gartner vice president. At Gartner events, attendees who opt in can receive alerts when in close proximity to peers with similar interests.

This technology has a high benefit with an emerging maturity.

Smart Mirrors

The future of getting ready for work each day looks really smart.

You have an early-morning meeting to prepare for and you’re wondering what the weather will be like, what to wear and if there are traffic snafus to avoid. You’d also like a fresh cup of coffee ready when you get out of the shower. Those are jobs for your smart mirror.

Step in front of this hyperpersonalized digital device, which consists of digital displays, cameras, sensors and analytics software, and it will display a weather and traffic report, project images of what you’d look like wearing different garments, and also start brewing your fresh coffee.

This technology has a moderate benefit with and is in the embryonic stage.

Smart Fabrics

Work in an office where “thermostat wars” are waged? Clothing designed with smart fabric, which can gather a wealth of insight about people and objects, could help you stay comfortable.

Smart fabrics incorporate mobile sensors, switches, connectors and even displays that can be embedded in fibers. As the technology develops, it could offer opportunities in areas such as healthcare, manufacturing and emergency services.

This technology has a moderate benefit with an emerging maturity.

Personal Drones

For the second year in a row, CES 2016 had an entire section devoted to drones. Drones can be remotely controlled using a mobile device, and can include sensors, such as cameras. Personal drones are mostly about fun and games now, but the market represents a new type of personal device with a unique set of features.

Form factors are evolving, so it will be interesting to see how the category evolves. Drones could redefine how the technology market approaches a wide variety of personal behaviors such as smart photography, wearables that are not watches or any use in which a flyable personal device would benefit its user.

This technology has a lower benefit with an emerging maturity.

Thinking About the Future of Devices

Beacons, smart mirrors and fabrics and personal drones are just a few of the devices that appear on the 2015 Hype Cycle. For some of these devices, the question mark is mass-market use cases, and for others, next steps are bringing down costs or finessing the technology.

Ms. Escherich said: “Devices that support smart, personalized experiences are the future of consumer technologies.”

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