A few years ago, the Gartner Hype Cycle was all about big data, and what it means for the business world. However, in 2015, it seems that autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the cool new technologies that enterprises need to keep an eye on.
This week, Gartner released its 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report, and it is full of changes in how various technologies are viewed by the firm's analysts.
In the Aug. 18 report, Gartner Vice President Betty Burton writes: "The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is the broadest aggregate Gartner Hype Cycle, featuring technologies that are the focus of attention because of particularly high levels of interest, and those that Gartner believes have the potential for significant impact."
The cycle is broken up by Gartner into five areas. Ranked from earliest to last in the cycle, the categories are: Innovation Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity.
The cycle aims to track how a technology goes from "gee-whiz" to "understood and used" over its lifetime. The "Peak of Inflated Expectations" generally means that Gartner thinks a technology is at least two to five years from the "Plateau of Productivity," and maybe even five to 10 years from that phase.
Just two years ago, big data was at this peak of the hype cycle. It was replaced last year by the Internet of Things, a ranking that IoT still holds in this report. Indeed, big data is nowhere to be found on the current Garter Hype Cycle.
The disappearance shows how hype can be ephemeral.
Additionally, the absence of any specific cybersecurity technologies from the Hype Cycle is puzzling, although "digital security" and "software-defined security" are mentioned as pre-peak areas. Such terms are rather vague and do not appear to reflect any concrete technology.
Given the abundance and scope of massive data breaches in the last year – Ashley Madison, anyone? – one might expect more attention in this segment.
New to this Hype Cycle is the emergence of technologies that support what Gartner calls digital humanism. That is the idea that people are the central focus in the manifestation of digital businesses and digital workplaces.
Autonomous vehicles, such as Google self-driving car and Apple's unofficial Project Titan, have also advanced on the curve. Self-driving vehicle technology has shifted from pre-peak to peak of the Hype Cycle.
While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic in their development, this movement still represents to Gartner "a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term road maps."
Coming up earlier in the cycle, Gartner sees a growing momentum – from post-trigger to pre-peak – in connected-home solutions. Analysts believe this type of technology has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers.
The Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies interacts with the last three stages of Gartner’s six "progressive business era" models. These last three include digital marketing, digital business, and autonomous.
The digital marketing stage incorporates what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces, specifically mobile, social, cloud, and information.
Digital business is the first "post-nexus" stage and focuses on the convergence of people, business, and things. IoT and the concept of blurring the physical and virtual worlds are part of this stage.
The final autonomous stage is an enterprise's ability to leverage technologies that provide humanlike or human-replacing capabilities.