Every summer, usually around July, Gartner issues its Hype Cycle for emerging technologies. It’s Jackie Fenn’s signature product each year and she is one smart analyst.
And it sets off a flurry of press releases from fans and detractors of the categories they catalog. So this year, I have heard from plenty – Cloud computing is overhyped. So is Green IT (both are at the “hump” of inflated expectations in 2009).
Guys, don’t take the hype cycle literally. Neither clouds nor green showed up in the 2007 Hype Cycle below. Not on the radar at all. In reverse, Fixed Mobile Convergence and Mobile TV which were at the hump in 2007 are nowhere in the 2009 graph.
What does this mean?
a) Category names morph as they mature. Many converge into others.
b) Never before has there been so much simultaneous innovation in so many tech categories. I mean I can easily average 500 innovation posts a year on New Florence. One Gartner graph with 50 or so categories is not going to cover them all.
c) Gartner is inconsistent at the category level – e.g.“Web 2.o” at the same level as “Bluetooth in automotive”- some are products, some are concepts, some are markets with many products
d) They real strength of Gartner is summarization of their conversations with hundreds of buyers and vendor clients. That allows for good short term confirmation, but not always long-term or even mid-term forecasting.
So take the hype cycle as one snapshot of innovation in the market. And with a grain of un-hype.