Gartner’s Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies Special Reports

Posted by in Technology


Gartner’s 2009 Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies was recently announced. 

If you were like me (or I suspect a significant majority of the folks out there in www), chances are you have not heard of this… here is a 1 paragraph primer on what this is –

Gartner introduced the idea of the Hype Cycle in 1995 as a commentary on the common pattern of human response to technology. Since then, the use of Hype Cycles has expanded both within Gartner and by its clients, as a graphical way to track multiple technologies within an IT domain or technology portfolio. Gartner’s Hype Cycle characterizes the typical progression of an emerging technology, from over enthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology’s relevance and role in a market or domain. Each phase is characterized by distinct indicators of market, investment and adoption activities.

The 2009 Hype Cycle looks like this –


Figure 1Gartner’s 2009 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,650 Technologies –

Some interesting thoughts that occurred to me while reading this (and going through the past views)-

  1. I think this is a great way of keeping track of what happens in the technology world. It also gives individuals (it is without a doubt super useful to tech companies & their customers), an idea of the things happening in the technology world- and possible ideas on what to expect, what to focus on, and where to move (from an employment point of view)
  2. The assumption that every new technology will follow the steps – (Technology trigger > Peak of inflated expectations > Trough of disillusionment > Slope of enlightenment > Plateau of Productivity ), in my opinion is flawed.   There are products that go through the Technology Trigger, Peak & move directly to a Plateau of productivity- example Solid state devices (which was in a downward slope from the peak (which I find it difficult to believe) – which has now moved directly to a Plateau of productivity (or possibly a Slope of enlightenment). Similarly, Smartphones. 
  3. Then there are products that literally drop off through the Trough of disillusionment.  (Example- Virtual assistants).  Not all technologies that start off the blocks live through the cycles.
  4. There are Stars and then there are Followers – Some of them bigger ideas need to be followed more closely than the majority of the ideas. 
  5. Confusing a Company for a Technology- Microblogging for example is seen as Twitter. But there are other microblogging sites coming up- which could lead the revolution.  And Twitter’s success (or failure) need not be the Technologies success or failure.

Nett of it, this is a great view to the users.  However, keep your ideas at a higher level & use your judgment on some of these views. Not flawed, I know the level of study that Gartner does, but still always to be on the side of doing some ground work as well.

Here are the other views that could be useful to put this story together. I pulled together a couple of the earlier versions of the Hype Cycle – and below are 2 years – 2008 (Figure 2)  and 2006 (Figure 3).  That may help you piece together your own thoughts as well.


Figure 2 – 2008 Hype Cycle – Where Are We In The Hype Cycle?


Figure 3 – The Gartner Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle 2006 –

In case you are wondering, figure 3 is not deliberately out of focus…. 😉

Happy Hyping 🙂