Following the Gartner Curve

Do you follow the Gartner Hype cycle? Every year they examine the maturity of technologies and trends and plot them on their special five phrase curve. The phases are:

  1. Technology Trigger — The first phase of a hype cycle is the “technology trigger” or breakthrough, product launch or other event that generates significant press and interest.
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations — In the next phase, a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.
  3. Trough of Disillusionment — Technologies enter the “trough of disillusionment” because they fail to meet expectations and quickly become unfashionable. Consequently, the press usually abandons the topic and the technology.
  4. Slope of Enlightenment — Although the press may have stopped covering the technology, some businesses continue through the “slope of enlightenment” and experiment to understand the benefits and practical application of the technology.
  5. Plateau of Productivity — A technology reaches the “plateau of productivity” as the benefits of it become widely demonstrated and accepted. The technology becomes increasingly stable and evolves in second and third generations. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or benefits only a niche market.

They’ve recently released this year’s Hype Cycle report, apparently the largest to date covering 1,650 technologies and trends in 79 technology, topic, and industry area. I haven’t read the report (it costs a small fortune to buy) but there’s quite a lot that’s already been said in the blogosphere.


Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and Internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among enterprise users,” Jackie Fenn, vice president and Gartner Fellow

Microblogging (services like Twitter) is ranked as having “moderate” impact on the market. I personally agree with the ReadWrite Web comment on this:

We can’t help but feel that Gartner may be underestimating the impact of microblogging. It remarks that services like Twitter enable “new kinds of fast, witty, easy-to assimilate exchanges.” …Gartner does not analyze the over-arching trend of Real-time web that microblogging exemplifies.

Things to watch out for in the future include Wireless power, Internet TV, augmented reality and surface computers. Much of this translates into the mobile market (especially smart phones) so could have a big effect on remote working.

Social software seems to have tipped past the peak of inflated expectations and in the Social software curve there are lots of examples of things like ideas management (something we looked at for the IWMW event I organise) and activity specific software.

All exciting stuff!


2 thoughts on “Following the Gartner Curve

  1. Pingback: e-Things » Blog Archive » Riding the Hype Cycle

  2. Pingback: What’s Next to Digitise? | newcurator

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