Thursday, 17 July 2008

Emerging Technology Hype

Spent yesterday afternoon in the Estates Strategy Group - the last time it will meet as the new committee structure comes in from 1 August - I seem to spend a lot of time at the moment in the last ever meeting of some committee or other. I'd love to count up how many I've served on over the last 25 years. One of them even came back to haunt me yesterday, when I was asked a question about the management of the Octagon Centre, and I was reminded that many years ago when it was first opened (in 1988 I think), I served on its first management committee. Not a lot to report from the meeting - lots of discussion about the recladding the Arts Tower and the decanting of everybody out of it, and various other moves round campus of different departments.

Spent some of yesterday afternoon looking at some of the new Gartner Hype Cycles which have just come out. I've mentioned them before - they're a graphical way of looking at the maturity of a technology. Most things start with a technology trigger of some sort (eg the release of a new system), then everyone things how wonderful it will be and hypes it up and it reaches the peak of inflated expectations. Then we all start to use it and it doesn't work as we expected it to, it's got bugs, it doesn't solve our problems , and we quickly grow bored and frustrated with it as it hurtles towards the trough of disillusionment. Then gradually it picks, up, bugs get fixed, we see a way it can be used and it is adopted and goes up the slope of enlightenment and reaches the plateau of productivity. That's the theory anyway.

The latest one to be released is the emerging technologies one - I always find this one quite exciting to see what's on the radar, and where some of our existing technologies are. In this latest one, technologies and trends at or approaching the Hype Cycle peak include green IT, cloud computing and social networking platforms. Corporate use of virtual worlds and Web 2.0 are slipping into the Trough of Disillusionment, while SOA (Service Orientated Architecture) begins its ascent of the Slope of Enlightenment.

New technologies appearing on it for the first time include context delivery architecture - something that is being discussed at all the big IT conferences - and erasable paper printing systems, or a way of printing on treated paper which then has the capacity to erase the information from the paper, allowing it to be reused more quickly and more often. Apparently Toshiba already have a paper that can be used up to 500 times. Although it's on the cycle, it's not predicted to reach maturity for another 10 years, so maybe our Print Service don't have to be looking at it just yet.

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