What's New in Gartner's Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015

October 20, 2015

Contributor: Heather Pemberton Levy

Understand where technologies sit in their cycle of maturity for their relevance to your organization.

Innovative technologies often stretch our imaginations to consider future realities. Take smart dust, the technology in which smart dust motes can be configured with sensors to detect and measure temperature, barometric pressure, acceleration, humidity, vibration, acoustic level, location, and more. Or bioacoustics, another technology at the start of this year’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2015 that would allow you to unlock a door via a digital key signal sent through your bones to the handle.

According to Betsy Burton, VP and Distinguished Analyst, bioacoustics is “one of several emerging technologies that integrate humans and technology in a trend we term, digital humanism — the notion that people are the central focus in the manifestation of digital businesses and digital workplaces.” Smart robots, connected home and autonomous vehicles technologies move up to the Peak of Inflated Expectations, signaling the move towards Autonomous business.


Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. Gartner's Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle contains a representative set of still-maturing technologies that receive interest from clients, and technologies that Gartner feels are significant and should be monitored.

Gartner Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle 2015

Embryonic Technologies

Smart dust, while in the embryonic stage could be dropped onto a forest fire to gage the wind direction or temperature in order to save lives. Or businesses could push smart dust into industrial systems to detect hazardous conditions in locations dangerous or impossible for human beings to visit.

People-Literate Technology (PLTs), which turns common language into computer smarts. Imagine your device with a blank screen that features one dialogue box into which you can type or talk and receive an intelligent response (or clarifying question) that retains and reuses previous conversations. PLTs will become the dominant model: by 2020, at least 40% of people will primarily interact with PLTs.

Brain-Computer Interface, the user generates distinct brain patterns that are interpreted by the computer as commands to control an application or device. As organizations consider new technologies, they should determine where they are on the digital business development path. “Are you still in the digital marketing phase or headed through digital business toward autonomous business?” Ms. Burton said. “We encourage CIOs and IT leaders to focus on innovation, rather than just incremental business advancement, while also gaining inspiration by scanning beyond the bounds of their industries.”

Digital Business Technologies

In the digital business phase, where physical assets become digitalized and equal actors in the business value chain alongside already-digital entities, consider: 3D Bioprinting for Life Science R&D, 3D Bioprinting Systems for Organ Transplant, Human Augmentation, Affective Computing, Augmented Reality, Bioacoustics Sensing, Biochips, Brain-Computer Interface, Citizen Data Science, Connected Home, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Digital Dexterity, Digital Security, Enterprise 3D Printing, Smart Robots, Smart Advisors, Gesture Control, IoT, IoT Platform, Machine Learning, Micro Data Centers, Natural-Language Question Answering, Neurobusiness, People-Literate Technology, Quantum Computing, Software-Defined Security, Speech-to-Speech Translation, Virtual Reality, Volumetric and Holographic Displays, and Wearables.

Autonomous Business Technologies

The autonomous stage is defined by an enterprise's ability to leverage technologies that provide humanlike or human-replacing capabilities. Consider: Autonomous Vehicles, Bioacoustic Sensing, Biochips, Brain-Computer Interface, Digital Dexterity, Human Augmentation, Machine Learning, Neurobusiness, People-Literate Technology, Quantum Computing, Smart Advisors, Smart Dust, Smart Robots, Virtual Personal Assistants, Virtual Reality, and Volumetric and Holographic Displays.

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