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Gartner Hype Cycle 2011 - Emerging Technologies

Less than 60% of the technologies listed last year find a place in this year’s report

[Update: Here is the Summary of Gartner Hype Cycle 2012 - Emerging Technologies]

There is an interesting anomaly about the hype cycle - Successful technologies are NOT likely to be hyped up! - check this analysis.

The Hype-Cycle for Emerging Technologies for the year 2011 has been released by Gartner. As has been the trend from the past less than 60% of the technologies listed last year find a place in this year’s report. Unlike last year, there are not many glaring omissions. (Here is an analysis of last year’s report). However, as is the case like last year, few technologies appear from nowhere on:

Climbing the Slope

Consumerization The trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations (see this)
QR/Color Code Quick Response code is a specific two-dimensional bar code that is readable by most smartphones (see this)

Sliding into the Trough

M2M Communication Services Machine-to-Machine refers to technologies that allow systems to communicate with other devices of the same ability (see this)
Hosted Virtual Desktops It has this been included because of this service from Rackspace?
Virtual Worlds Remember Second Life? (see this)

(If you are new to Gartner Hype Cycle, there is a short explanation at the end of this post)

What Else Is New?

On the Rise

3D Bioprinting Machine that can assemble cells of any type in a desired 3D pattern. The expectation is that this technology can at a future date grow organs. (see this)
Big Data & Extreme Information Processing and Management Finally Big Data appears! Is “Extreme Information Processing and Management” and derivative of “Extreme Transaction Processing” which appeared last year?
Internet of Things How different is this from M2M?
Natural Language Question Answering I am sure this is prompted by IBM Watson and Google “Best Guess
Social TV Social Network + TV = Survival guide for broadcasting companies. (see this)
Video Analytics for Customer Service Like your every action on internet is watched, now your every action inside a store will be watched and analyses! (see this)

At the Peak

Context-Enriched Services This is a variant of “Context Delivery Architecture” which appeared last year.
Gamification Or Funwire, which is the use of game playing mechanism for non-gaming application particularly consumer-oriented web and mobile sites.
Group Buying I suppose it is inspired by the likes of Groupon.
Image Recognition Probably Google Image search is the trigger. (It works quiet well – if the image is there to be found – then it will be found!)
In-Memory Database Management Systems They are quiet usable now. (see this)
NFC Payment There are 140 NFC Forum members include which includes … well see this.

So what is the bigger picture? What can we decipher as the larger technology trend?

Cloud Computing is too nebulas a term to survive long – it is going to splinter
Here are six (out of 42) technologies listed in the report which are directly or indirectly related to cloud.

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. Cloud/Web Platforms
  3. Hosted Virtual Desktops
  4. Big Data & Extreme Information Processing and Management
  5. In-Memory Database Management Systems
  6. Private Cloud Computing

Human and Machine – Machine and Machine are getting connected like never before
How we connect to machine is evolving very fast. How machines are connecting with each other is also evolving very fast. Machines are also becoming more autonomous. There are ten technologies listed which goes on to enhance this connection.

  1. Human Augmentation
  2. Computer-Brain Interface
  3. Mobile Robots
  4. Natural Language Question Answering
  5. Internet of Things
  6. Augmented Reality
  7. Virtual Assistants
  8. Gesture Recognition
  9. Machine-to-Machine Communication Services
  10. Speech Recognition

Here are few interesting links which you may enjoy:


How Consistent Is the Hype Cycle Compared to Previous Years?
This is how I measure consistency. I count all the technologies mentioned in the current year’s hype cycle. Then I count the number of those technologies which was also mentioned in last year’s hype cycle. The ratio expressed as a percentage is the degree of consistency.

This year I have added another measure that is instead of matching it with technologies mentioned last I have also matched it with technologies mentioned in any of the past years.

Here are the consistency figures from year 2004 onwards.


% of technologies mentioned in the previous year’s hype-cycle

% of technologies mentioned in any in any hype-cycle since 2003

























For Those of You Who Are Not Familiar with Gartner’s Hype-Cycle
Here is a short explanation.

The assumption behind it is that every new technology creates an initial hype when everybody is talking about it. As a result an inflated expectation gets created around that technology. Since new technologies take time to mature and deliver value, it very rarely lives up to the initial hyped expectation. Therefore, after a peak of inflated expectation disillusionment follows till it reaches a trough. After this, some technologies dies a natural death and are forgotten. However, there are some which starts delivering value and people starts adopting them. When sufficient number of people adopts it, the technology is said to have reached the mainstream. The hype-cycle is represented as a graph and each technology of interest is plotted on the graph. Gartner also predicts the timeframe of each technology to reach mainstream.

More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting

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