Technology innovations are rarely predictable.
Analysts at Gartner use a concept known as hype cycles as a generic way of explaining how new technology tends to follow a predictable course, with wild an optimistic predictions about near-term success eventually being dashed.
There follows a period of disillusionment, and finally a time when the innovation actually is adopted in useful ways.
Apple might be the exception, as iPod, iPhone and iPad sales have kicked into mass adoption within a year or two, vastly accelerating and distorting the adoption curve.
With any of Apple’s products, except iPod – which followed the traditional trend – the initial hype is such that the majority of their sales happen during the first one or two years, and then immediately dry up.
The point, one might say, is that forecasting is becoming more difficult. In fact, the problem Apple poses for standard adoption models, whether “S” curves or “product lifecycle” curves, is that Apple products have simply not followed those rules as of late.
It might be said that some innovations are adopted very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that the “trough of disillusionment” predicted by the Gartner hype cycle virtually goes unnoticed.
You might say that has been the case with tablets. When, over the last several years that the iPad and tablets have been available, did you actually hear people talking about how disappointed they were with tablets?
The point is that, like all useful theories and generalizations, real life can be diverge from theory. Smartphones might be the other technology that seems not to have experienced a significant “trough of disillusionment.”
Whether the hype cycle is predictive, or only descriptive, whether it can be used by new technology marketers in any practical way, is open to debate. Another way of making an analogy is to note the aphorism that most important and major new technologies have less impact on markets and behavior in the early going, and much more impact than foreseen over the long term.
One might say that is analogous to a hype cycle. Observers expect too much change in the early years, but often fail to understand the magnitude of change in later years.
For some of us, the main point is precisely that tendency to overestimate what can happen, early in the development of a new market, and also to underestimate impact later.
Remote work opportunities are on the rise thanks to innovative technology that makes telecommuting and virtual collaboration more effective than ever …
A wave of ransomware attacks strikes computers across much of the planet, leading some to wonder if WannaCry has made a return.
I've been using Microsoft's latest versions-or, in some cases, the only versions-of its Surface PC line of products. Each is very different in terms o…
This month, there were two interesting product announcements. The first was in regard to very high-resolution displays that should arrive in VR headse…
Voice-activated personal assistant platforms such as Amazon's Alexa continue to grow in popularity, making lives easier in all sorts of ways. As such …