Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2011

The Hype-Cycle for Emerging Technologies for the year 2011 has been released by Gartner. As has been the trend from the past less than 60% of the technologies listed last year find a place in this year’s report. Unlike last year, there are not many glaring omissions. (Here is an analysis of last year’s report). However, as is the case like last year, few technologies appear from nowhere on:

Climbing the Slope

Consumerization The trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations (see this)
QR/Color Code Quick Response code is a specific two-dimensional bar code that is readable by most smartphones (see this)

Sliding into the Trough

M2M Communication Services Machine-to-Machine refers to technologies that allow systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability (see this)
Hosted Virtual Desktops It has this been included because of this service from Rackspace?
Virtual Worlds Remember Second Life? (see this)

(If you are new to Gartner Hype Cycle, there is a short explanation at the end of this post)

What else is New?

On the Rise

3D Bioprinting  Machine that can assemble cells of any type in a desired 3D pattern. The expectation is that this technology can at a future date grow organs. (see this)
Big Data & Extreme Information Processing and Management  Finally Big Data appears! Is “Extreme Information Processing and Management” and derivative of “Extreme Transaction Processing” which appeared last year?
Internet of Things  How different is this from M2M?
Natural Language Question Answering  I am sure this is prompted by IBM Watson and Google “Best Guess
Social TV  Social Network + TV = Survival guide for broadcasting companies. (see how BBC is approaching this problem)
Video Analytics for Customer Service  Like your every action on internet is watched, now your every action inside a store will be watched and analyses! (see this)

At the Peak

Context-Enriched Services  This is a variant of “Context Delivery Architecture” which appeared last year.
Gamification  Or Funwire, which is the use of game playing mechanism for non-gaming application particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites.
Group Buying  I suppose it is inspired by the likes of Groupon.
Image Recognition  Probably Google Image search is the trigger. (It works quiet well – if the image is there to be found – then it will be found!)
In-Memory Database Management Systems  They are quiet usable now. (see this)
NFC Payment  There are 140 NFC Forum members include which includes … well see this.

So what is the bigger picture? What can we decipher as the larger technology trend?

Cloud Computing is too nebulas a term to survive long – it is going to splinter

Here are six (out of 42) technologies listed in the report which are directly or indirectly related to cloud.

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Cloud/Web Platforms
  3. Hosted Virtual Desktops
  4. Big Data & Extreme Information Processing and Management
  5. In-Memory Database Management Systems
  6. Private Cloud Computing

Human and Machine – Machine and Machine are getting connected like never before

How we connect to machine is evolving very fast. How machines are connecting with each other is also evolving very fast. Machines are also becoming more autonomous. There are ten technologies listed which goes on to enhance this connection.

  1. Human Augmentation
  2. Computer-Brain Interface
  3. Mobile Robots
  4. Natural Language Question Answering
  5. Internet of Things
  6. Augmented Reality
  7. Virtual Assistants
  8. Gesture Recognition
  9. Machine-to-Machine Communication Services
  10. Speech Recognition

Here are few interesting links which you may enjoy:

How Consistent Is The Hype Cycle Compared To Previous Years?

This is how I measure consistency. I count all the technologies mentioned in the current year’s hype cycle. Then I count the number of those technologies which was also mentioned in last year’s hype cycle. The ratio expressed as a percentage is the degree of consistency.

This year I have added another measure that is instead of matching it with technologies mentioned last I have also matched it with technologies mentioned in any of the past years.

Here are the consistency figures from year 2004 onwards.

Year

% of technologies mentioned in the previous year’s hype-cycle

% of technologies mentioned in any in any hype-cycle since 2003

2011

57%

60%

2010

50%

58%

2009

62%

71%

2008

44%

56%

2007

52%

59%

2006

47%

53%

2005

43%

48%

2004

46%

46%

For Those of You Who Are Not Familiar with Gartner’s Hype-Cycle

Here is a short explanation.

The assumption behind it is that every new technology creates an initial hype when everybody is talking about it. As a result an inflated expectation gets created around that technology. Since new technologies take time to mature and deliver value, it very rarely lives up to the initial hyped expectation. Therefore, after a peak of inflated expectation disillusionment follows till it reaches a trough. After this, some technologies dies a natural death and are forgotten. However, there are some which starts delivering value and people starts adopting them. When sufficient number of people adopts it, the technology is said to have reached the mainstream. The hype-cycle is represented as a graph and each technology of interest is plotted on the graph. Gartner also predicts the timeframe of each technology to reach mainstream.

Gartner Hype Cycle 2010 – Emerging Technologies

If you are interested in emerging technology, you must be waiting for the yearly hype cycle to be published by Gartner. They have released a presentation which outlines the 2010 Gartner Hype Cycle on Emerging Technology. Is it an interesting document? It sure is! Does it have an element of surprise? Yes it does!

(If you are new to Gartner Hype Cycle, there is a short explanation towards the end of this post)

This report from Gartner is meant to guide enterprises on which emerging technologies to invest in. It is suppose to indicate where to put your money so that you can get the maximum benefit.

But, can you rely on this report? You could assume that since the report is from Gartner, it must be reliable. However, if you are pragmatic, you would want to check the accuracy of their past predictions and you would like to see some consistency in the predictions. That is when you will start getting your doubts. Let me give few examples:

  1. If a technology has appeared, for 3 years in a row (2007 to 2009) as Transformational you would not expect it to suddenly disappear from the list. However, that is precisely what happened to Web 2.0 and SOA. These two technologies have simply disappeared from the list. Neither of them had entered the Plateau of Productivity. There is also no indication that they have become Obsolete before Plateau. So, what happened to them? Is Web 2.0 dead or is it thriving?
  2. Of the 7 technologies listed under Slope of Enlightenment, four do not appear in last year’s list. These technologies are – Predictive Analytics, Interactive TV, Internet Micropayment Systems and Biometric Authentication Methods. Where did they come from? Are these new terminologies? Not really. So, why where they not appearing in the past reports?
  3. Only 50% of the technologies mentioned in this year’s hype cycle had found a place in last year’s list. (Year wise consistency figures are given at the end of this post)

So, what is my recommendation? Before you use this report for decision making, I suggest that you perform your own analysis and compare it with past reports.

For those of you who are not familiar with Gartner’s Hype-Cycle

Here is a short explanation.

The assumption behind it is that every new technology creates an initial hype when everybody is talking about it. As a result an inflated expectation gets created around that technology. Since new technologies take time to mature and deliver value, it very rarely lives up to the initial hyped expectation. Therefore, after a peak of inflated expectation disillusionment follows till it reaches a trough. After this, some technologies dies a natural death and are forgotten. However, there are some which starts delivering value and people starts adopting them. When sufficient number of people adopts it, the technology is said to have reached the mainstream. The hype-cycle is represented as a graph and each technology of interest is plotted on the graph. Gartner also predicts the timeframe of each technology to reach mainstream.

In addition to the Hype Cycle, Gartner also publishes a Priority Matrix which puts all the listed technologies into a 4×4 grid. On the x-axis you have “years to main stream adoption” which is, from left to right, less than 2 years, 2 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years and more than 10 years. On the y-axis you have “benefit” which is, from top to bottom, transformational, high, medium and low. So, the top left corner will be the most important cell which will contain the list of “Transformational technologies to mature in less than 2 years“. Its adjacent columns will be next in importance, which are “Transformational technologies to mature in 2 to 5 years” and “High impact technologies to mature in less than 2 years“.

How consistent is the hype cycle compared to previous years?

This is how I measure consistency. I count all the technologies mentioned in the current year’s hype cycle. Then I count the number of those technologies which was also mentioned in last year’s hype cycle. The ratio expressed as a percentage is the degree of consistency. Here are the consistency figures from year 2004 onwards.

  • 2010 – 50%
  • 2009 – 62%
  • 2008 – 44%
  • 2007 – 52%
  • 2006 – 47%
  • 2005 – 43%
  • 2004 – 46%

BTW: Here are some of my earlier posts on hype cycle:

Gartner Hype Cycle and Copyright

In the morning, I opened today’s Times of India, Bangalore edition and on page 18 I found an article on “Gartner Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies 2009”. There is no copyright notice. It appears as it some reported has picked up the graphics from the web and written the article. So, this may be a case of copyright infringement.

You can access it here – http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOINEW/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIBG&showST=true&login=default&pub=TOI and select page 18.

I had come across a post by Neville Hobson (2nd August) on Gartner restricts usage of hype cycle graphics, which discussed the subject of copyright. Gartner has a clearly defined policy on who can quote the hype cycle – Want to quote a Hype Cycle?.

Does such copyright violation help or harm Gartner?

I think it is good free advertisement of the report as well as the concept of hype cycle and I agree with Neville Hobson that by restricting the use Gartner is preventing “…buzz about their research…” to emerge.

Brendan Hughes has commented that a “…creative commons type approach here would be very beneficial for Gartner and more in keeping with the spirit of openness in the digital age.”

However, Gartner feels that the use of the graphics out of context can be misleading. For example, according to Gartner, labels like trough of disillusionment, is open to misinterpretation.

Other Hype-Cycle Reports

Apart from the hype cycle on emerging technologies, which receive the maximum attention, Gartner also published hype-cycles of many other topics (I counted 79 of the). You can see the list here. Each report is around USD 1,995.

However, if you are only interested in the finding out what technologies are covered in each of the report, it is available as the table of content available on the Gartner site.

Usefulness of the report

Here are few of my earlier posts discussing the same:

Gartner Hype Cycle 2009 – Emerging Technologies

Last year I had made a post on Is the Technology Hype-Cycle of any use?. In that I had criticized the “Emerging Technologies Hype-Cycle” for its lack of consistency from year to year. Gartner’s 2009 hype cycle is out and I am pleasantly surprised to see that it has better continuity compared to any of the earlier years.

For those of you who are not familiar with Gartner’s Hype-Cycle, here is a short explanation.

The assumption behind it is that every new technology creates an initial hype when everybody is talking about it. As a result an inflated expectation gets created around that technology. Since new technologies take time to mature and deliver value, it very rarely lives up to the initial hyped expectation. Therefore, after a peak of inflated expectation disillusionment follows till it reaches a trough. After this, some technologies dies a natural death and are forgotten. However, there are some which starts delivering value and people starts adopting them. When sufficient number of people adopts it, the technology is said to have reached the mainstream. The hype-cycle is represented as a graph and each technology of interest is plotted on the graph. Gartner also predicts the timeframe of each technology to reach mainstream.

This is how I measure consistency. I count all the technologies mentioned in the current year’s hype cycle. Then I count the number of those technologies which was also mentioned in last year’s hype cycle. The ratio expressed as a percentage is the degree of consistency. Here is the consistency figure from year 2004 onwards.

  • 2009 – 62%
  • 2008 – 44%
  • 2007 – 52%
  • 2006 – 47%
  • 2005 – 43%
  • 2004 – 46%

Is this because of the economic slowdown – that is speed of technological change has come down in last one year – hence a more stable hype-cycle? Personally I would like to believe that somebody from Gartner has read my earlier post and has listened to the “voice of customer”!

My Observations on this Hype-Cycle

  1. This year there is no technology which enters the plateau – is it because of the economic slowdown?
  2. It is good to see SOA, Wiki & Corporate Blogging climbing the slope – I have no argument with that
  3. But it is hard to understand why Location-Aware Applications / Services has been climbing the slope from 2003
  4. Similarly, RFID in some form has been sliding through the trough from 2004 – why is it still there?
  5. I am surprised to see Speech Recognition suddenly climbing the slope – there has been no mention of it in 2007 or 2008
  6. What happened to Social Computing – it seems to have disappeared from the peak last year
  7. Similarly what happened to Service-Oriented Business Application?

BTW: Please read the post by Ed Lee – The Gartner Hype Cycle: What Consultants and Agencies Need to Know.

If you want to know more about the 2009 hype cycle read this – Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2009: What’s Peaking, What’s Troughing?

Finally, here is the link to Gartner’s site – Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2009

Is the Technology Hype-Cycle of any use?

Every year, around the month of July, Gartner publishes Hype-Cycles on different technologies. There are more than 150 of them for different technologies and domains. The one that I have been following closely over the years is the Hype-Cycle on Emerging Technologies.

For those of you who are not very familiar with what a Hype-Cycle is, here is a brief explanation:

The assumption behind it is that every new technology creates an initial hype when everybody is talking about it. As a result an inflated expectation gets created around that technology. Since new technologies takes time to mature and deliver value, it very rarely lives up to the initial hyped expectation. Therefore, after a peak of inflated expectation disillusionment follows till it reaches a trough. After this, some technologies dies a natural death and are forgotten. However, the are some which starts delivering value and people starts adopting them. When sufficient number of people adopt it, the technology is said to have reached the mainstream. The hype-cycle is represented as a graph and each technology of interest is plotted on the graph. Gartner also predicts the timeframe of each technology to reach mainstream.

The is expected to act as a guide for organizations to take decision on technology investment.

My experience with hype-cycle has nicely followed the hype-cycle. Initially, when I came across this concept, it looked like a brilliant idea. You can look back on the adoption pattern of most accepted technologies and you feel that it has gone through the hype-cycle. Therefore, I used to eagerly await the yearly release of the hype-cycle and it used to form a key component in my technology recommendation to my organization.

However, after following it for 3 to 4 years, I have reached the trough of disillusionment!

Let me give you some evidence to present my case. My apologies for presenting all the evidence from only the hype-cycle on emerging technologies as that is the one I have been studying in detail.

Brief Statistics

There are 120 distinct technology names mentioned between 2003 to 2008. I have taken care to combine similar terms. The statistical distribution of how many times these are mentioned are as follows:

  • Only once – 74
  • Twice – 23
  • Thrice – 12
  • Four times – 5
  • Five times – 3
  • Six times – 3

It looks like they pickup technologies casually and drop it. In other words, out of the 27 technologies mentioned in 2008, more than half those terms are likely to be dropped from the 2009 hype-cycle.

Let me also point out some more inconsistencies!

There are only 3 technologies mentioned in 2003 which has survived in 2008!

  • RFID
    • 2003: Passive Radio Frequency Identification – at the peak (2-5 years to reach main stream)
    • 2004: RFID (Item) – on the rise & RFID (Case/Pallet) – sliding Into the trough
    • 2005: RFID (Passive)- sliding into the trough — what happened to the distinction between Item & Case/Pallet?
    • 2006: RFID (Item) & RFID (Case/Pallet) – sliding into the trough
    • 2007: RFID (Item) & RFID (Case/Pallet) – sliding into the trough
    • 2008: RFID (Case/Pallet) – sliding into the trough — what happened to Item? & how long will it slide?
  • Location aware applications
    • 2003: Location-Aware Services – climbing the slope (2-5 years to reach main stream)
    • 2004: Location “Aware” Services – climbing the slope
    • 2005: Location-Aware Applications – climbing the slope
    • 2006: Location-Aware Applications – climbing the slope & Location-Aware Technology – sliding Into the trough — why did Location-Aware Technology suddenly make an appearance?
    • 2007: Location-Aware Applications & Location-Aware Technology – climbing the slope
    • 2008: Location-Aware Applications – climbing the slope — how log will it climb the slope? & why did Location-Aware Technology disappear?
  • Electronic paper
    • 2003: Electronic Ink/Digital Paper – on the rise (5-10 years to reach main stream)
    • 2004: Electronic Ink/Digital Paper – at the peak
    • 2005: Electronic Ink/Digital Paper – at the peak
    • 2006: Digital Paper/E-Paper – at the peak — what happened to Electronic Ink?
    • 2007: Electronic Paper – sliding into the trough — what happened to Digital Paper?
    • 2008: Electronic Paper – sliding into the trough

The curious story of SOA

  • 2003: No mention!
  • 2004: Sliding into the trough
  • 2005: Sliding into the trough
  • 2006: Ditched in favor of the term Event-Driven Architecture and shown as on the rise
  • 2007: Makes a comeback and again sliding into the trough
  • 2008: Finally climbing the slope

There are several questions that comes to mind.

  1. Why did SOA not find a place in 2003?
  2. Why did it start its life in the hype-cycle by sliding through the trough?
  3. When did it climb the slope & when did it reach the peak?
  4. In 2006 there was a detailed explanation on why SOA term has been dropped and the term Event-Driven Architecture is used. Then, why does it not figure in 2007 & 2008?
  5. Is it because the term SOA is not coined by Gartner?

Other Interesting titbits

  • Web 2.0 finds a mention only in 2006 — The term was coined in 2003. What happened to it 2004 & 2005?
  • Terms like AJAX(2006-sliding through the trough), Folksonomy(2006-at the peak) & Podcasting(2005-on the rise) is mentioned only once — Are these technologies not in use any more?
  • Semantic Web makes periodic appearance: (2003-on the rise), (2004-at the peak) & (2007-sliding trough the trough) — what happened to it in 2005 & 2006? where is it in 2008?
  • Corporate blogging has been sliding through the trough on 2005, 2006 & 2008 — when did it climb the slope? what happened to in it 2007?
  • Smart phones was sliding through the trough on 2003 & 2004, goes missing on 2005 but is seen climbing the slope on 2006 only to disappear again — Did it reach the mainstream adoption or has it dropped of the curve?

I can go on and on.

You can form your own opinion but I have stopped relying on it!

Though the actual report is a paid report, you can still have a look at the hype-cycle graph by searching for images in google with the term “gartner hype cycle emerging technologies”. You will get most of the hype cycles. You can include the year also to locate a specific year. However, 2004 hype-cycle seem to be missing but you can have a look at the table of content.