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Hype cycle visualization reveals some insights on the state of technology

By Mark Raskino | February 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Recently I returned to one of my amateur hobby projects: data visualization.  The dataset from all of Gartner’s published hype cycle reports, is a good size to play with. There are over 2000 technology profiles, tracked and updated by Gartner analysts early in the second half of every year.  If you can show all that data on screen at the same time, some patterns jump out.  There are at least three major observations I can see in the 2013 data:

The technology pipeline is full.
All the way back to the trigger point on the left side of the curve, our analysts are tracking many new technologies. There is no sign that the information technology world is running out of innovation (sorry Tyler Cowan – I’m just not seeing a great stagnation here)

The technology flow is fairly even
I have been tracking our hype cycles for many years. There are times when some parts of the cycle get a bit thin, while others are fuller. That tends to create slowdowns and speed-ups in pressure on companies to adopt new things. Right now it would appear that the flow is fairly constant, whether you are an early, mainstream or late adopter.

Very few technologies die
We often point out that after the hype, few technologies really die. It is true that many emerge from the trough of disillusionment only to find narrow, niche markets.  That may disappoint fans and investors who got overexcited early on.  But nearly every technology eventually finds some use. (Note: the hype cycles track technologies, not individual products or companies). On the chart below you can see this observation as a lack of red bubbles  – where our analysts are calling “obsolete before plateau” .




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