It's not new, but the Gartner Hype Cycle has two things going for it: ongoing relevance to the unending hype around emerging technologies; and the best place names since Terry Pratchett's Discworld.
Wouldn't it be great if you could actually climb the Peak of Inflated Expectations and look down on the blighted landscape that is the Plain of Broken Dreams? How steep is the Slope of Enlightment? No pain, no gain. Maybe a hike into the Trough of Disillusionment is a journey too far. That's where some of us have been with the last thirty years of technology...
Back in the real world, the researchers at Gartner try to plot the progress of emerging technologies in a way the rest of us can understand.
"When new technologies make bold promises, how do you discern the hype from what’s commercially viable? And when will such claims pay off, if at all? 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."
The Hype Cycle attempts to plot five key phases of a technology’s life cycle.
- Innovation Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
- Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.
- Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
- Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
- Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology's broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.
You can see the latest attempt to make sense of 2020's emerging technologies on the Gartner site. But you may be none the wiser what Embedded AI Data Fabric or any of the other terms actually mean. RC