When new technologies make bold promises, how do you differentiate hype from commercial viability? And when will such claims pay off, if at all? Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities. The Hype Cycle methodology provides a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, yielding a source of insight to manage their deployment within the context specific business goals.


gartner hype cycle general

Each Hype Cycle drills down into the 5 key phases of a technology’s life cycle:

Technology Trigger:
A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.

Peak of Inflated Expectations:
Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.

Trough of Disillusionment:
Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.

Slope of Enlightenment:
More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.

Plateau of Productivity:
Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

Below are the 2005, 2010, and 2015 Gartner Hype Cycles.  What patterns do you see?  Hindsight is 20/20, so did the expectation for certain technologies take hold, or fade out in the trough of disillusionment?  Or worse yet, did they become obsolete before even reaching the plateau of productivity?

2005 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

Gartner Hype Cycle 2005
Source: http://www.gartner.com/


2010 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

Gartner Hype Cycle 2010
Source: http://www.gartner.com/


2015 Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies

Gartner Hype Cycle 2015
Source: http://www.gartner.com/