Twitter backlash foretold

August 11, 2009

Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies,” its effort to chart out what’s hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It’s just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.

Jackie Fenn, the report’s lead analyst and author of the 2008 book “Mastering the Hype Cycle,” delivers the main verdict:

Technologies at the Peak of Inflated Expectations during 2009 include cloud computing, e-books (such as from Amazon and Sony) and internet TV (for example, Hulu), while social software and microblogging sites (such as Twitter) have tipped over the peak and will soon experience disillusionment among corporate users.

Click to enlargeGartner Hype Cycle 2009

What’s most interesting in the report, now in its 14th year, is what the corporate research firm says is a long way off from the mainstream.

It will take up to five years for many of today’s trendy technologies to become mainstream, including Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds, and a true corporate mouthful, service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Funny how long hype cycles take to pay out. Three years ago, in its 2006 Hype Cycle Report, Gartner predicted Web 2.0 would go mainstream within just two years.

Gartner Hype Cycle IndicatorsMore than five years out, which means nearly dead in terms of industry attention, are technologies such as the once hot radio-frequency ID (RFID) concept, along with mobile robots and human augmentation and some absurdly high concepts like context-delivery architectures.

The second chart, on the right, describes Gartner’s methodology. It’s all very imprecise, but a game worth playing.

Images: Gartner (August 2009)

Emerging Technology Hype Cycle archives
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