Last session at CISG last week was Mark Rascino from Gartner talking about the Hype Cycle for emerging technologies. I've written about this model before - it's simple but I find it very useful, particularly for explaining the maturity of technology to non IT managers. I've seen the cycle many times, but it was very interesting hearing explained in more detail where it comes from. We all know about the hype that surrounds an innovation - and how that innovation is going to be the next big thing. a peak is reached, and then the hype is replaced by cynicism, and the innovation is criticised for not delivering. At the same time as this fall from grace, developments take place, there is progress, and the innovation matures and becomes productive. These two processes combine to give us the hype cycle...
Gartner publishes about 70 hype cycles a year, and in this session Mark picked out some of the key features of the emerging technologies one.
Things about to reach the plateau include location aware applications and speech recognition. Interesting that speech recognition is an emerging technology as it's been around a long time - it's just taken ages to become productive.
Techologies on their way out of the trough and on the way to the plateau include electronic ink (being used in thin, flexible displays such as on the side of USB sticks to show how much space is free) and various Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and wikis.
In the trough is public virtual worlds - apparently only in the education sector is Second Life and other such virtual worlds finding an application.
Over the peak and heading towards the trough is microblogging (70% of Twitter feeds from corporates are inactive), and mesh networks (might be past the peak but there are some great applications of this technology, including using energy generated by trees to detect forest fires - read about it here).
Cloud computing is apparently at the peak - after the recent hype, there's cynicism starting to appear. Joining this are ebook readers which are due to plummet soon!
On the way up to the peak is augmented reality (apps already being developed for the iPhone), and right at the bleeding edge are augmented humans - Bionic eyes are only a few years away.
As with all new technologies, you have to know when to adopt, and when to give up. Adopting too early or too late, and giving up too soon or hanging on too long are traps we need to avoid.
Great talk as always, and a thought provoking way to end a good conference.