Age of Hype-tron: Gartner Predicts Emerging Tech Trends
"There are no strings on me," intones self-aware robotic supervillain Ultron in the new trailer for Marvel's next summer superhero blockbuster, "Avengers: Age of Ultron." Being a huge nerd, I'm naturally freaking out about the trailer, but it actually got me thinking about some real life tech trends.
What if Ultron took a break from destroying the world, and found some time to replace your marketing department? It sounds far-fetched, but the researchers at Gartner annually forecast emerging tech trends on their Hype Cycle—and they don't think it's very far off.
Split into the three stages that a business goes through as it scales—digital marketing, digital business and autonomous—the "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies" places technologies along a curve of points from initial innovation trigger to the final, resolved plateau of productivity. In between, technologies go through stages like the peak of inflated expectations (maximum hype), the trough of disillusionment and the upward-bound slope of enlightenment. Differentiated dots indicate how many years each individual technology is from reaching the plateau.
In the 2014 Hype Cycle, Gartner finds that the Internet of Things (IoT) is at the very tippy top of the peak of inflated expectations—and judging by all of the speculative coverage that we've been seeing lately, they're right on the money. However, it's still five to 10 years out from the plateau, so you've got plenty of time to start figuring out how it fits into your marketing spend.
The Hype Cycle can be helpful when trying to pin down what technologies to invest in, which ones to anticipate for later, and which ones are already mainstream—or even already over. Assess honestly where your business is, then use the Cycle to see what emerging technologies might be helpful for your team. There's no need to fear the future. Even Gartner says that we've got 10-plus years before smart robots take over the world.