Gartner Hype Cycle 2014 Report Puts Wearables, Big Data In Their Place

August 13, 2014 Ben Myers


I look forward to the Gartner Hype Cycle For Emerging Technologies as a wet blanket to calm all our marketing- and blog-driven obsession with the latest – and oftentimes, most convoluted and misunderstood – technologies.

This year’s edition (the 20th such report from Gartner) is no different, as it places some technologies on a pedestal of inflated expectations, and deems others to be in the basement. Many of the topics we examine on the Dx3 Digest are here. Let’s take a look at where they fit in the hype cycle, where they landed last year, and what Gartner says about their recent progress:

Wearable User Interfaces:

This may not encompass all varieties of wearable tech, but Wearable User Interfaces has remained pretty constant at the top of the Peak Of Inflated Expectations. They seem to be the only tech that has barely moved in the last 12 months.

I think it’s fitting that wearables are at their peak right now. We’re seeing an explosion of conferences and technologies dedicated to fitness tracking, motion tracking, and collecting data about yourself. Will it still be the case next year? It’s difficult to tell.


Big Data:

At conferences around Toronto, I’ve watched Big Data go from a loosely defined buzzword, to the subject of some ridicule. Fittingly, Big Data has moved from the Peak into the Trough Of Disillusionment in the Gartner report.

“While interest in big data remains undiminished, it has moved beyond the peak because the market has settled into a reasonable set of approaches, and the new technologies and practices are additive to existing solutions,” the report says.

NFC – Near-Field Communication:

I really enjoy using NFC on my phone and credit card, but even I have to admit that it’s facing some stiff competition from other tech that seems to be able to accomplish the same tasks. Apple still hasn’t included NFC in any of its phones, while Bluetooth beacons are gaining adopters monthly.

Gartner moved NFC from the downslope into the basement of the trough for 2014.

Social network analysis:

Gartner puts social network analysis in the crossfire for more than its hype. It provides a few reasons why people might be becoming less excited about the results of social network analysis.

“Social network analysis shifted six positions toward the trough because of the difficulty of collecting relevant, reliable networking data, and because the analysis is highly conceptual and it is hard to translate the information collected into practical actions,” Gartner wrote.

3D Printing and 3D Scanners:

3D Scanners have jumped directly from the Innovation Trigger stage to the slope of enlightenment. 3D printers can also be found on the slope of enlightenment. Anecdotally, people are talking less about 3D printers than they were six months ago, but the technology may have found its best and most practical uses.

“The demand for this type of custom manufacturing reflects two increasingly important retail trends: consumers’ expectations of stock availability and their desire for personalized and customized products, services and shopping experiences. The tremendous hype around digital 3D printing is being fueled by numerous stories in the mainstream media, including the use of 3D printers to “manufacture” a variety of products, including food items and in surgical reconstruction operations,” the report says.


I think it’s interesting to include gamification because it’s not a technology as much as a technique, practice or philosophy. That makes it unique among these other bit of computer-based hardware and software.

Gamification moved down from the top of the hype cycle and now has its place part-way into the trough.

Do these match your experience and expectations for these technologies?

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