Reading the Gartner Hype Cycle as a comms business

Gartner’s annual “hype cycle” chart is a highly informed attempt to pin the tail on a number of fast moving and braying donkeys – and in so doing determine which currently high-profile technologies are immature in their claims for accelerating market adoption.

In the Gartner cycle, loosely modelled on the traditional technology adoption curve, technological innovation advances in stages that are more emotional than statistical: from exuberance to pessimism to adoption.

As we all know, each technology progresses through its market at a different rate, so Gartner helpfully maps out a horizon of eventual acceptance for each.

Some of the placements may surprise you – with a lot of current buzzwords like Cloud Computing and Analytics still somewhere on the 2-5 year spectrum, and M2M and Big Data on a 5-10 year stretch before major adoption.

So what should comms players be looking at (or ignoring) for potential opportunity in the Hype Cycle?

As always, the devil is in the detail. By which I mean the big architectural considerations like Cloud and Data and Near Field Communications can be taken as a given factor that will be built into solutions by major telcos, mobile device makers and big software providers, and it is in specific applications that opportunity really occurs.

Looking into the 2 year horizon, speech recognition (already on Gartner’s ‘Plateau of Productivity’) looks like an obvious application for comms businesses to be positioning in the contact centre and professional services space as a natural complement to voice solutions. Beyond that, its a 5 year wait for other complementary communications solutions like Gesture Control, Near Field Communication and the Cloud to reach the point of significant market impact.

If your current business plan depends on success in the currently much-hyped fields of the Internet of Things and Wearables then you had better be in it for the long haul and have deep pockets.

As Bill Gates once commented “We tend to over-estimate the short term effects of technology and under-estimate the long term ones.”  

Its easy to read the Gartner model and be dismissive of currently over-sold innovations – but we do this at our peril. These technologies are coming to a decision-maker near you sometime in a relatively near future that most of us will still be working in, and more significantly will empower competitors for your business that don’t even exist yet.

For completeness see below for the full Gartner model (and yes some of them elude me as well!)

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