Are Cloud Computing and Tablets Over-Hyped?
You may not be familiar with the diagram above. Welcome to Gartner's 2o1o version of their Hype Cycle. For a number of years, Gartner has tracked 1,800 emerging technologies and plotted them along a curve representing the stage of maturity, as well as an estimate as to the number of years it may take for the technology to become mainstream.
While no one is perfect at predicting the future, I've personally found Gartner's identification of IT trends quite accurate over the years. It makes for fascinating perusal if you are into this kind of thing. If you are an IT leader, you should be into this kind of thing.
Most interesting is the labels that Gartner has put on the components of the curve. When a technology is at the top of the cycle, they call it "Inflated Expectations". At this point the marketers, media and bloggers are at their peak of frenzy. "There is little that this technology cannot do!" "This is the next big wave!"
What this really is, is a suggestion to take the hype about these technologies with a grain of salt, because one consumers or corporations realize the promises are unfulfilled, our human nature kicks in and we toss the technology aside like last week's newspaper. Perhaps it is because of the embarassment we feel over falling victim to the hype, or perhaps we are caught up in the next big thing. It is at this low point that Gartner has identified as the "Trough of Disillusionment".
Technologies can languish here for a while before they are "rediscovered" by some bring minds and are applied innovatively and appropriately and actually generate some significant, measurable productivity gains. Pen based tablet PCs have found their niche and provide great gains. We are avid users of over 950 of these devices at Appleby College.
Let's look at a couple of the technologies on the diagram.
Private Cloud Computing and Cloud Computing are both pretty high on the peak, with an expected time to mainstream of 2 to 5 years.
Media tablets haven't hit the peak of their hype. According to Steve Jobs (and Cisco today) we are in the "Post PC era". What does that even mean? Short aside - does anyone else see the irony in the iPad2 being the device that ushers in this era, when you need a computer to actually activate it?
Remember Second Life? Public virtual worlds are now in the trough, you see very little in the media now about them. Gartner's not saying their bad, they just haven't found their home. I've unpacked this idea a bit in a former post: Avatars – The new “Professional” you.
Using good research is a valuable tool for the IT leader. Gartner's prediction about the rise of consumer driven selection of IT had a marked impact on our mobile computing program when I was at Sheridan College. As a result, we got into Virtual Desktop Integration and Application Virtualization at the right point, and were ready when this trend hit with a vengence.
Now that you've met the Hype Cycle, do you think this will change your approach to planning your technology infrastructure and deployment?
Resources/Blogs on Gartner's Hype Cycle:
Gartner's 2010 Hype Cycle Special Report Evaluates Maturity of 1,800 Technologies http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1447613