The Gartner Hype Curve 2016 by Dave Sharp

Tuesday 23 August 2016 | Category: App Development Digital marketing Technology

The hype cycle is a branded graphical presentation developed and used by American information technology research and advisory firm Gartner for representing the maturity, adoption and social application of specific technologies. The hype cycle provides a graphical and conceptual presentation of the maturity emerging technologies through five phases.

The latest Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies illustrates how quickly technology innovations have the potential to redefine buyer, supplier and customer relationships for any business.  Gartner added 16 new technologies to the Hype Cycle this year, including block chain, machine learning, general purpose machine intelligence, smart workspace in addition to many others.


The yearly update to the diagram often presents a reminder to the tech world how focused and consumed the sector is why hype. Many technologies are quoted as life changing years or a decade before they actually are usable and in the mainstream.  An example are drones. Amazon are creating the idea that they can do drone deliveries but the curve shows drones as not even at the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Drones won’t be delivering your Amazon order any time soon.

There are some key information within the 2016 diagram:

  • Sixteen new technologies included for the first time this year. 4D Printing, Blockchain, General-Purpose Machine Intelligence, 802.11ax, Context Brokering, Neuromorphic Hardware, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS), Personal Analytics, Smart Workspace, Smart Data Discovery, Commercial UAVs (Drones), Connected Home, Machine Learning, Nanotube Electronics, Software-Defined Anything (SDx), and Enterprise Taxonomy and Ontology Management.

The most interesting addition is the Enterprise Taxonomy and Ontology Management – essentially the categorisation of things. With content search being the issue it is when dealing with big data this potentially has the most B2B impact.

  • Immersive experiences will become more intelligent and contextually aware, enabling greater productivity and Technologies enabling transparently immersive experiences include 4D Printing, Brain-Computer Interface, Human Augmentation, Volumetric Displays, Affective Computing, Connected Home, Nanotube Electronics, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Gesture Control Devices.

There is a lot of media attention around the AR scene with the success of Pokemon GO and the new VR headsets such as the Vibe and Oculus Rift.  The odd one on the list is Affective Computing – encompassing speech and facial recognition (old tech right?) but now adding emotion into the mix.

  • Smart machine technologies will transform manufacturing and its related industries: Smart Dust, Machine Learning, Virtual Personal Assistants, Cognitive Expert Advisors, Smart Data Discovery, Smart Workspace, Conversational User Interfaces, Smart Robots, Commercial UAVs (Drones), Autonomous Vehicles, Natural-Language Question Answering, Personal Analytics, Enterprise Taxonomy and Ontology Management, Data Broker PaaS (dbrPaaS), and Context Brokering.

Driverless cars and drone deliveries are in the news already – although both are suffering to grab the mainstream. Robotics is probably the next transformational technology group to change human existence, the last being the internet.  Watch out for the term SmartDust. As a collective term for many new and emerging technologies it hasn’t really had its moment in the sunshine, but it’s only a matter of time.

  • Emerging technologies are enabling entirely new business models, driving a Platform Revolution. Platform-enabling technologies making new business models possible include Neuromorphic Hardware, Quantum Computing, Blockchain, IoT Platform, Software-Defined Security and Software-Defined Anything (SDx).

The Blockchain technology is undoubtedly about to change the financial world. The hyper-secure method of managing and tracking financial transactions should go a long way toward negating financial fraud within the banking and public sector.

  • Fourteen technologies were removed from previous years’ diagrams: Hybrid Cloud Computing, Consumer 3D Printing, and Enterprise 3D Printing, Bioprinting Systems for Organ Transplant, Advanced Analytics with Self-Service Delivery, Bioacoustic Sensing, Citizen Data Science, Digital Dexterity, Digital Security, Internet of Things, Neurobusiness, People-Literate Technology, Speech-to-Speech Translation and Wearables.

Many of these removals are a reflection of some expected trends and technologies just not emerging or becoming consolidated within other tech terms and categories. Wearables is the interesting one, now not seen as new, exciting or having the kind of impact it was imagined a few years ago.

The conclusion we can draw is clear. The tech industry will continue to thrive on hype and the promise of change on the largest magnitude. The man in the street will continue to struggle and identify those technologies that really do have the power to improve their lives. Investors will continue to chase the unicorn start-ups – hoping that it will survive the full Gartner curve and become big exit for them. Next year’s Gartner diagram will arrive and the whole technology debate will begin another cycle.

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