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Hype Cycle

Definition

The Hype Cycle is a graphical representation model developed by Gartner Inc., which illustrates the maturity, adoption, and social application of emerging technologies. The cycle consists of five key phases: the Innovation Trigger, the Peak of Inflated Expectations, the Trough of Disillusionment, the Slope of Enlightenment, and the Plateau of Productivity. This concept helps organizations understand and manage expectations while navigating the hype surrounding new technologies.

Phonetic

The phonetics of the keyword “Hype Cycle” can be represented as /haɪp saɪkəl/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hype Cycle is a graphical representation of the maturity, adoption, and social application of specific technologies, showcasing their progression through five distinct phases: the Innovation Trigger, the Peak of Inflated Expectations, the Trough of Disillusionment, the Slope of Enlightenment, and the Plateau of Productivity.
  2. It allows organizations and investors to make informed decisions about investing in and implementing emerging technologies based on their current position in the cycle, ensuring they adopt these technologies at the most optimal time for their needs.
  3. Hype Cycles are particularly valuable for identifying overhyped technologies that might be prone to disappointment, enabling companies to avoid costly mistakes and maintain a more focused approach to innovation and technological adoption.

Importance

The concept of the Hype Cycle is important in the technology sector because it serves as a valuable framework to understand the progression and adoption of emerging technologies.

Developed by Gartner, a leading research and advisory firm, the Hype Cycle helps businesses, investors, and decision-makers identify which technological innovations are likely to succeed in the market and influence future development.

The cycle comprises five distinct stages, including the technology trigger, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlightenment, and plateau of productivity.

By understanding the Hype Cycle, stakeholders can make informed decisions about investing in or adopting new technologies, anticipate potential challenges, and gauge the maturity and potential impact of technological innovations on industries and economies.

Explanation

The Hype Cycle is a valuable graphical representation that aids organizations and individuals in understanding and managing expectations about the maturity and potential market impact of emerging technologies. It is a strategic tool primarily designed by Gartner Inc., a leading research and advisory company.

The purpose of the Hype Cycle is to help decision makers discern which technologies are likely to deliver on their promises, and when the best time is to invest in them. By analyzing the progression of how technologies mature over time and their corresponding adoption levels, the Hype Cycle allows organizations to determine the optimum moment to implement new innovative solutions in response to market needs and their strategic goals.

This analytical model consists of five distinct phases: the Technology Trigger, Peak of Inflated Expectations, Trough of Disillusionment, Slope of Enlightenment, and Plateau of Productivity. The Hype Cycle maps the hype and subsequent disappointment concerning innovative technologies, followed by a period of recovery and growth as mainstream adoption becomes increasingly widespread.

Such insights enable organizations to steer clear of impulsive investments and instead strategically plan their technological pursuits. By employing the Hype Cycle as a foundational aspect of their decision-making process, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with technological investments and capitalize on cutting-edge advancements in their respective sectors.

Examples of Hype Cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a graphical representation that illustrates the maturity, adoption, and social application of specific technologies. It helps organizations gauge the progression of technology innovations and make informed decisions about their adoption. Here are three real-world examples of technologies that have gone through the Hype Cycle:

Virtual Reality (VR)Virtual Reality was in the “Innovation Trigger” phase in the early 1990s when companies like Sega and Nintendo started investing in VR technology for gaming. It reached the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” in the mid-late 1990s and later entered the “Trough of Disillusionment” due to the high cost of VR hardware and limitations of the technology. In recent years, VR has reached the “Slope of Enlightenment,” with affordable devices like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive and a broader array of applications across industries, such as education, healthcare, and real estate.

Internet of Things (IoT)IoT began gaining attention in the late 2000s and early 2010s as companies started connecting everyday devices, such as thermostats, vehicles, and appliances, to the internet. It reached its “Peak of Inflated Expectations” as people envisioned a fully connected world, but has since entered the “Trough of Disillusionment” due to security concerns, interoperability challenges, and a lack of standardization. However, IoT is now progressing towards the “Slope of Enlightenment” as industries adopt IoT solutions with clearer benefits and companies collaborate to address security and other challenges.

BlockchainBlockchain technology emerged in the late 2000s with the introduction of Bitcoin and gained widespread attention in the mid-2010s. It reached its “Peak of Inflated Expectations” around 2017 as numerous other cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects launched. It then entered the “Trough of Disillusionment,” as many projects failed or shut down due to regulatory challenges, security issues, and unrealistic expectations. Currently, blockchain is in the “Slope of Enlightenment” phase, with industries exploring practical applications and companies developing more mature and useful solutions, particularly in finance, supply chain management, and digital identity.

Hype Cycle FAQ

What is the Hype Cycle?

The Hype Cycle is a graphical representation of the life cycle stages a technology goes through from conception to maturity and widespread adoption. It helps organizations understand how emerging technologies will have an impact on their businesses and when is the best time to invest in them.

What are the stages of the Hype Cycle?

There are five stages in the Hype Cycle: (1) Technology Trigger, (2) Peak of Inflated Expectations, (3) Trough of Disillusionment, (4) Slope of Enlightenment, and (5) Plateau of Productivity.

What is the purpose of the Hype Cycle?

The main purpose of the Hype Cycle is to assist businesses in making informed decisions about the adoption and implementation of emerging technologies. It helps organizations manage their expectations and invest wisely in new technologies, avoiding the pitfalls of premature adoption or ignoring technologies with long-term potential.

How can organizations use the Hype Cycle?

Organizations can use the Hype Cycle to identify technologies that could transform their business processes, plus evaluate the potential benefits and risks of investing in those technologies. By understanding where a technology stands on the Hype Cycle, decision-makers can make better-informed decisions about investments, resource allocation, and strategic planning.

What is an example of a technology going through the Hype Cycle?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a prime example of a technology that went through the Hype Cycle. It started with high expectations in the early 1990s, reached the peak of inflated expectations, and then went through a period of disillusionment when early consumer products failed to deliver on promises. In recent years, improvements in technology and growing practical use cases have led VR towards the slope of enlightenment and towards the plateau of productivity.

Related Technology Terms

  • Technology Trigger
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations
  • Trough of Disillusionment
  • Slope of Enlightenment
  • Plateau of Productivity

Sources for More Information

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