Gartner released last week its latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. Last year, big data reigned supreme, at what Gartner calls the “peak of inflated expectations.” But now big data has moved down the “trough of disillusionment,” replaced by the Internet of Things at the top of the hype cycle. In 2012 and in 2013 Gartner’s analysts thought that the Internet of Things had more than 10 years to reach the “plateau of productivity” but this year they give it five to ten years to reach this final stage of maturity. The Internet of Things, says Gartner, “is becoming a vibrant part of our, our customers’ and our partners’ business and IT landscape.”
A new entry to the Hype Cycle this year is “data science,” projected to reach the plateau in 2 to 5 years. It’s more a discipline for dealing with big data then a specific technology or set of technologies, so it’s interesting to note that big data is still considered by Gartner to be 5 to 10 years away from reaching that stage. In its Hype Cycle Special Report Gartner says that “While interest in big data remains undiminished, it has moved beyond the peak because the market has settled into a reasonable set of approaches, and the new technologies and practices are additive to existing solutions.” This statement seems to be a bit premature and the somewhat contradictory assessment of 5 to 10 years to maturity may indicate that Gartner is not entirely confident that the market has indeed “settled.”
Source: Gartner, August 2014
The Special Report is a free document from Gartner, providing a great overview of the “market promotion and perception of value for over 2,000 technologies, services and trends in 119 areas.” In an analysis of the technologies, services, and disciplines that have changed most from 2013 to 2014 in their position on the hype cycle, time to plateau, rating, and adoption rates, Gartner has found that what they call “the four Nexus of Forces (social, mobile, cloud and information),” were highly correlated with the profiles that had changed most significantly on the peak portion of the Hype Cycle. Two trends Gartner called out especially as having an impact at earlier stages of the Hype Cycle were digital business and the Internet of Things.
Together with Analytics and Mobile Infrastructure, The Internet of Things was also one of the drivers behind the fast movers from innovation triggers (the first stage of the Hype Cycle) towards the peak of inflated expectations. For example, the delivery of analytics capabilities and tools as a service, what Gartner calls business analytics PaaS (baPaaS), moved up 12 positions. Another example is the convergence of IT with Operational Technology (OT) which moved nine positions. The IT/OT convergence, according to Gartner, is the growing use of standard IT technologies in OT vendors’ products, and IT/OT alignment is the organizational response to these changes. The increasing availability of data and the growing sophistication of its analysis are behind the rapid ascendance of some of the trends identified by the Hype Cycle.
Lee Rainie, the director of Internet, Science and Technology research at the Pew Research Center had this assessment of Gartner’s observations about the ups and downs of emerging technologies: “Even though the hype cycle is not specifically based on data, the judgment of Gartner analysts about the state of technology adoption often tracks with opinions of other elite observers. There are sometimes disputes about where on the curve any individual innovation might rest, but there have been few challenges to the general trends it outlines.”
The 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies marks the 20th anniversary of this useful tool for tracking the ebb and flow of our periodic bursts of exhilaration and frequent disappointments with technology and business innovations. In this video, Betsy Burton, Gartner’s VP and Distinguished Analyst, talks about the Hype Cycle as a tool for tracking how innovations and their business impact evolve over time and what is new about the 2014 version. “In many cases,” Burton says, “what we’re seeing is a shift from people focused on supporting the infrastructure for supporting information, applications, systems in the cloud and also big data to how we actually apply some of the uses of cloud, big data, and social to real business problems. We’re looking at a shift from a focus on the technology to actually applying this technology to real business needs and business outcomes.”