Thursday, 24 July 2008

More Hype

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies had just been published, and this morning I've been looking at the Higher Education one, which is also just out.

Some interesting observations. Areas just reaching maturity and mainstream adoption (the plateau of productivity) include CRM for enrollment management, RFID for library management, and web services for administrative functions. Open source e-learning systems is also there, with Gartner predicting 2 to 5 years for this to reach maninstream adoption. at the moment OSS e-learning systems represent just under 20% of the market, but this is growing with the adoption of systems such as Moodle and Sakai.

Things currently wallowing in the Trough of Disollusionment include Grid Computing, E-portfolios and open source portals. The latter refers directly to uPortal, commenting that relying on an OSS framework reduces the initial acquisiton cost, but the trade off is less than leading edge functionality and reliance on internal staff and peer organisations for support and development. Some things in the trough are flagged as becoming obsolete before maturity and mainstream adoption is reached, and this includes podcasting learning content, as it's noted that podcasts are being quietly incorporated into other technologies including social software and other broadcasting tools.

Sitting on top of the Peak of Inflated Expectations, about to hurtle downwards, are Virtual Worlds, ITIL (just as we're about to implement it) Identity and Access Management, and Mashup's in HE. One day maybe I'll understand what a mash up is - I understand it's nothing to do with making tea.


Jason Shao said...

I have to admit, having been involved with uPortal for quite a while, not sure how I feel about it being labelled so. Having spent time with the commercial portals (and working for an organization with a heavy investment in Oracle Technology) I think uPortal compares very favorably for many Higher Ed use cases, and the 3.0 release even delivers a better user experience than many "enterprise" players. Course, I'm prejudiced...

Chris Barran said...

Of course, we are using a commercial portal which certainly did reduce our start up time (and pressumably therefore cost) however this software also uses uPortal but the version is far far behind the open source version of uPortal and so our portal features are lagging very far behind.

Having looked at Clearspace from Jivesoftware this week. I think this software has the possibility to create a very good portal. It is like an inside out version of our portal where Groups (spaces) are the main thing and content is organised via groups rather than the groups being a separate application. In addition users do get their own customizable home page with drag and drop widgets and pretty graphics. This can all be driven off one central organisational structure with the possibility creating spaces for, departments, modules, research groups, teams etc etc.
We should be looking at this software for more than just blogs and wikis.

Simon said...

I have the former Hype cycle that Chris did for Sheffield on my wallpaper and find it very useful as an overview of what we're doing at Sheffield. I wonder whether we could update it as I think it is about a year old now?

Chris Sexton said...

good idea - I'll get someone on to it!

Jason Shao said...

Clearspace looks to be a very nice product, though in the past their licensing seems to have been very corporate intranet, per-seat focused, and cost prohibative for most institutions. I'd be very interested if that's changed, or they've become more flexible in how they deal with academic institutions.

Alternatively, the LMS vendors (I'm active in the Sakai community as well) are also starting to explore this space. The next version of Sakai (many features of which were recently deployed at Caimbridge) has a lightweight Netvibes/iGoogle style "widget" portal which lets you leverage some personalization in a group/class centric environment.

Mike Griffiths said...

Its interesting to here that cloud computing is on the way up. There are some interesting debates about the differences between utility computing and cloud computing.

One perception is that cloud computing is a different branding of the term utility grid! Ah we're back to grid again which is in the trough of disillusionment. One of the reasons for this is probably due to the progress with the development of metascheduling systems. Another reason may be due to the change in the development of hardware i.e. we no longer expect performance to scale with cpu clock frequency but on the number of cores and thus we 're entering a new (possibly scary era) of distributed application development.

Do gartner have any forcast for agent based computing? Projects at The University of Sheffield such as the epitheliome project have developed the X-agent model and the flexible agent modelling environemnt. Such developments may play an important role in distributed application development.