IoT entering peak of inflated expectations

Sherly Mendoza, Guest blogger -November 13, 2014

Every year, technology research and advisory firm Gartner releases a report that tracks different emerging and established technologies, and helps investors find out whether a particular technology is commercially viable or not.

For its reports, Gartner developed a unique visual tool called the Hype Cycle to map out different technologies according to their maturity, social application, and adoption. Gartner explains that the Hype Cycle helps you weed out the technologies that are commercially viable from the ones that are just hype. It also helps you decide which ones are relevant to solving business challenges or not. It is now in its 20th year.

There are currently five different phases described in the Hype Cycle:

  • Technology or Innovation Trigger -- A technology in this stage is starting to emerge and is having the buzz around it start. Usually, there is only a very early model or proof of concept available and no usable products are out in the market. These types of technology have shaky and unproven commercial viability. At this stage, new methodologies, research, materials, and discoveries make a new technology viable and workable.

  • Peak of Inflated Expectations -- The media often generates a lot of publicity at this stage, usually involving a few success stories but mostly reporting on failures.

  • Trough of Disillusionment -- At this stage interest in these technologies are on the decline because implementations, applications, and experiments tend to fail when it comes to delivering the technologies' promised benefits and features. Investors might want to get out of these technologies unless producers can prove that their products can be improved or early adopters signify satisfaction.

  • Slope of Enlightenment -- This is when a technology becomes better understood by consumers, investors and companies capitalizing on them. This is also a stage where the technologies are already benefiting the companies invested in them. Usually, technologies at this part of the cycle have more products coming out. Investors are often very interested and more pilots are funded.

  • Plateau of Productivity -- This is where the technology gains adoption from the mainstream. The business viability of these technologies are now very evident and these technologies often have a wide range of applications and are clearly relevant to consumers.

So, how does the Internet of Things fare on the Hype Cycle? The IoT first appeared on the Hype Cycle in August 2011, along with other debutantes such as consumerization, gamification, and big data. By now, however, the Internet of Things has moved beyond the Technology Trigger to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Gartner expects that IoT will not reach plateau until 5 to 10 years from now.

This should not come as a surprise. The IoT has been generating a lot of buzz as of late and there are a lot companies that are delving into it. This means that the Internet of Things is at that stage when the efforts of various companies involved in it, along with research, are proving to have a lot of promise. We are also seeing more talk regarding what issues are going to be solved by the Internet of things and new ideas and business models to leverage the IoT are coming out.

At this stage, the Internet of Things should not have too many difficulties attracting developers and researchers into the fold.

On the other hand, the Internet of Things is getting poised to enter the trough of disillusionment, which means that there is more room for failure now. There are issues of security, privacy, and sharing of information across vertical implementations that still need to be worked out. Until they are, the IoT will not be able to fulfill all its promises.

Ideally the IoT will not suffer the same fate as other technologies, such as in-memory analytics and virtual reality that got slumped deep into the trough. With industry effort and cooperation, the Internet of Things can live up to the expectations that we have now. Companies interested in this technology will be able to get the funding they need and there will be minimal developmental hiccups.

But as the Hype Cycle shows, there is still a long way to go before reaching the plateau of productivity. Here is to hoping that the IoT does not fizzle out along the way.

Sherly Mendoza is a woman fascinated with all things related to technology, gadgets, the Internet of Things, fashion, health, and lifestyle and is an experienced blogger on these topics. She maintains her portfolio and blog at www.TechyFashionista.com.

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