Gartner Hype Cycle 2015 Preview & Predictions

August 5, 2015 Ben Myers

Gartner Hype Cycle 2015

The Gartner Hype Cycle For Emerging Technologies might be my favourite… heck… it IS my favourite emerging technology report of the year.

Some tech gets a pat on the back for reaching maturity, while other technologies are called out for being overhyped – all in one convenient graphic.

Whether it’s laying the smack down on the vague concept of big data or reminding us how far speech recognition has come in the past five years, information technology research firm Gartner does an excellent job of categorizing the many types of technology that businesses are pushing and journalists are fawning over.

Let’s break down how some of these technologies have done since last year’s report and predict where they will show up on the Hype Cycle chart this time around.

That’s why I’m looking forward to the Gartner Hype Cycle 2015 report, which should be arriving in mid-August.

Last year, Gartner put Wearable User Interfaces at the top of the Peak Of Inflates Expectations. This was long before the release of the Apple Watch and its reported sales problems, and nearing the end of the hype around Google Glass. Meanwhile, NFC and Cloud Computing could be found in the Trough Of Disillusionment (which is as bad as it sounds).

Remember: The Hype Cycle is not a judgement on the usefulness of the quality of the technology, its financial viability, or whether people will actually use it in the future. Instead Gartner calls it an evaluation of “the market promotion and perception of value” of these technologies.

Let’s break down how some of these technologies have done since last year’s report and predict where they will show up on the Hype Cycle chart this time around.

Autonomous Vehicles

Gartner Hype Cycle 2013 - 15 Automous Vehicles

Gartner was right to position Autonomous Vehicles pre-Peak in 2013 and 2014. In fact, they have it categorized in the 5 – 10 year range before the technology reaches the Plateau Of Productivity. 2015 has been an interesting year for Autonomous Vehicles from a public relations perspective; The public dreams of a time when our transportation time becomes leisure or work time, while Google is rolling its cute little cars down San Francisco roads, and every tech blog picks up on every crash involving those adorable little demons.

We get it Uber – you have investors.

Tesla built some self-driving capabilities into its cars and enabled it with an over-the-air update (which is a thing cars can do now) in fall 2014.

Uber, not to be outdone, launched its own self-driving car project and (just to cover its bases) its CEO said it would buy every self-driving car Tesla can produce. We get it Uber – you have investors.

I wouldn’t suggest that most people anticipate their next car will be self-driving. Autonomous Cars haven’t peaked yet, and they’re well out of the Trough. I think we’ll find Autonomous Cars at or near the peak in 2015.

Internet Of Things

Gartner Hype Cycle 2013 - 15 Internet Of Things

In 2014, Gartner put Internet Of Things (IoT) at the Peak Of Inflated Expectations, which might be a good thing. If the Internet Of Things were an NBA team, they would be the Oklahoma City Thunder – inundated with expectations from an early age, but with an image that will probably benefit from a couple years of over-delivering on reduced expectations. To stretch the analogy further, if the Thunder ever manage to win the title, it would probably be categorized as a pleasant surprise rather than the start of a dynasty.

Consumers are beginning to see the benefit of connected devices without the expectation that the turkey will be perfectly cooked every day by the time they get home from work.

Internet Of Things made some important leaps in 2014-15, Google introduced an operating system called Brillo that will connect your connected things. In 2014, Google bought the Internet Of Things gateway drug Nest, which makes wifi-connected cameras and thermostats. Plus, some practical tools were created to help the layman make use of screenless internet-connected devices.

Putting Internet Of Things in the Trough would be too harsh. Consumers are beginning to see the benefit of connected devices without the expectation that the turkey will be perfectly cooked every day by the time they get home from work. Instead, IoT should be on the path to redemption in 2015 with a few practical use cases for many people and a bright future ahead.

Plus, the Thunder are getting Russell Westbrook back from injury for the start of the 2015-16 season. So thing are looking up!

Wearable User Interfaces

Gartner Hype Cycle 2015 Wearable

With the introduction of the Apple Watch in April, Wearable User Interfaces definitely had their moment in the sun in 2015. Of course, the Apple Watch brought with it a lot of scrutiny about whether smart watches and wearables will play a big role in the near future of consumer tech.

Wearables are unique because they’re probably going to be a part of consumer technology at some point in the future, but the form they’ve taken in the past few years has been underwhelming. Whether that’s Android iterating through fat, square watches to the more stylish round faces or Glassholes becoming a term for early adopters of Google Glass, it seems that many companies are still finding out what works in wearables.

I don’t expect this tech to hit either the dreaded Trough or the upswing Slope just yet.

As for wearables without large screens, fitness trackers have made Fitbit into a $6-billion company since its IPO in June and GoPro’s small, wearable cameras have made that company equally valuable.

In 2013, Gartner put Wearables User Interfaces near the Peak Of Inflated Expectations, but I don’t expect this tech to hit either the dreaded Trough or the upswing Slope just yet. Apple has the tendency to release features at a regular pace over several years, so you can bet the Apple Watch will look very different by 2017 and public perception could change quickly with a killer app or a new device that takes the world by storm.

Stay tuned for analysis of the full 2015 Gartner Hype Cycle report when it’s released.

Read previous Dx3 Digest content about the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Gartner Hype Cycle
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