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Gartner Hype Cycle 2012 – Emerging Technologies

The most crowded hype cycle on emerging technologies in last 10 years

Here is a summary of the Gartner Hype Cycle for “Emerging Technologies” for 2012 – what is stated explicitly, what can be inferred.

This Hype Cycle is suppose provide insight into emerging technologies that have broad, cross-industry relevance, and are transformational and high impact in potential.

Most crowded hype cycle on emerging technologies in last 10 years

48 technologies are listed in this year’s hype cycle which is the highest in last ten years. Last year they had 42 – year 2008 was the lowest (27) – year 2005 was the previous highest (44).

What does this imply?

May be Gartner is right when it says:

We are at an interesting moment — a time when the scenarios we’ve been talking about for a long time are almost becoming reality.

Which macro trends are stated explicitly in the report?

  • Any Channel, Any Device, Anywhere — Bring Your Own Everything
  • Smarter Things – things are smart and connected to the Internet
  • Big Data and Global-Scale Computing at Small Prices
  • The Human Way to Interact with Technology – speech, gesture etc.
  • What Payment Could Really Become – NFC, Mobile OTA etc.
  • The Voice of the Customer Is on File – making sense of behavior data already available
  • 3D Print It at Home

But if you look closely at the 48 technologies listed in the hype-cycle you will notice that…

It is all about Consumerization and Hyper-connectivity

As you may know, Consumerization of IT describes the trend where technologies are adopted by consumer ahead of enterprise & government.

And

Hyper-connectivity is about connecting everything us-to-internet; things-to-internet; peer-to-peer; consumer-to-enterprise; enterprise-to-enterprise… and so on.

Out of the 48 technologies in the hype-cycle…

…14 are technologies for reaching out or interacting with consumers

  1. Application Stores
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. BYOD
  4. Consumer Telematics
  5. Consumerization
  6. Gamification
  7. Home Health Monitoring
  8. HTML5
  9. Internet TV
  10. Media Tablets
  11. Mobile OTA Payment
  12. NFC
  13. NFC Payment
  14. Virtual Worlds

What is “Consumerization” doing in the list of technologies? It is not a technology – it is a trend.

…8 are about analyzing, understanding and taking advantage of consumer behavior

  1. Activity Streams
  2. Big Data
  3. Complex-Event Processing
  4. Crowdsourcing
  5. In-Memory Analytics
  6. Predictive Analytics
  7. Social Analytics
  8. Text Analytics

…3 are about connecting things

  1. Internet of Things
  2. Machine-to-Machine Communication Services
  3. Mesh Networks: Sensor

Is AI and Robotics nearing the Tipping Point?

For years both AI and Robotics have promised a lot but the reality has been far removed from the promise. Are we finally reaching a stage where we will see all the Sci-Fi turn into reality?

…10 of the technologies listed fall into this category

  1. Audio Mining/Speech Analytics
  2. Automatic Content Recognition
  3. Autonomous Vehicles
  4. Biometric Authentication Methods
  5. Gesture Control
  6. Human Augmentation
  7. Mobile Robots
  8. Natural-Language Question Answering
  9. Speech Recognition
  10. Speech-to-Speech Translation

What about technologies for improving efficiency or for reducing cost?

Even if you consider “Cloud Computing” technologies capable of improving efficiency or reducing cost, you have only…

…6 technologies listed under this category!

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Hosted Virtual Desktops
  3. Hybrid Cloud Computing
  4. Idea Management
  5. In-Memory Database Management Systems
  6. Private Cloud Computing

Clear indication that we have reached a level of saturation on how much improvement we can achieve by just looking inwards.

Why has “Idea Management” appeared in the hype cycle for last 6 years and “Agile Methodologies” have never found a place?

After all both are process / methodology and you will agree that Agile has much larger impact and adoption than Idea Management.

What about the rest?

This leaves us with only…

…7 miscellaneous technologies – most of them very futuristic in nature

  1. 3D Bio-printing
  2. 3D Printing
  3. 3D Scanners
  4. Quantum Computing
  5. Silicon Anode Batteries
  6. Volumetric and Holographic Displays
  7. Wireless Power

What about the Priority Matrix?

Only technology listed under “Transformational impact in next 2 years” is Media Tablet, which is the term Gartner uses for iPad and other similar tablets.

Big Data, Cloud Computing, Gesture Control and In-Memory DBMS are listed under “Transformational impact in 2 to 5 years”.  “Cloud Computing” is appearing under this category for last 5 years (from 2008). So, it is high time somebody asks the question…

Is the impact of cloud computing ever going to be transformational?

Finally…

How consistent is this year’s hype-cycle compared to previous years?

Year

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

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

2012

63%

67%

2011

57%

60%

2010

50%

58%

2009

62%

71%

2008

44%

56%

2007

52%

59%

2006

47%

53%

2005

43%

48%

2004

46%

46%

As you can see from this table – it is much more consistent compared to previous years!

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Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
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