The technology industry is prone to exaggeration and overhype. One minute, a new product or trend can be hailed as the next big thing, but in just a few months or years, it can fall by the wayside. This phenomenon is known as the technology hype cycle.
The hype cycle was first introduced by research firm Gartner in 1995 to provide a framework for understanding the adoption and evolution of emerging technologies. It consists of five phases: the technology trigger, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment, and plateau of productivity.
The first phase, the technology trigger, marks the introduction of a new technology or trend. Excitement and expectations are high, with many predicting that it will transform the industry. However, at this stage, there are usually few practical applications, and the technology may not be ready for mainstream use.
The peak of inflated expectations is the second phase and represents the period of maximum hype. In this stage, everyone is talking about the technology, and it seems as though it will change everything. However, the reality starts to set in as the limitations and challenges of the technology become apparent.
The trough of disillusionment is the third phase, where disillusionment sets in as the technology fails to live up to its hype. This can lead to disappointment and a drop in investment and interest.
The slope of enlightenment is the fourth phase, where the technology begins to mature, and businesses start to understand how to use it effectively. Innovation and experimentation lead to renewed interest and investment.
Finally, the plateau of productivity is the fifth phase, where the technology reaches its full potential, and businesses routinely use it to achieve their goals.
The hype cycle is an important tool for businesses to understand when considering investing in new technologies. It helps them cut through the buzzwords and assess the potential of a technology more realistically.
It’s also important to note that not all technologies go through the entire hype cycle. Some never make it past the technology trigger phase, while others quickly reach the plateau of productivity.
In conclusion, the technology hype cycle provides a useful framework for understanding the adoption and evolution of emerging technologies. By understanding the cycle, businesses can make informed decisions about investing in new technologies and avoid falling for the hype.