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Oh my!

It is a cliché we’ve all heard before: “Technology changes everything.” While that holds true for everything, a corollary (or caveat) to this phrase is often ignored. Technology doesn’t change everything instantly.

The Gartner Hype Cycle wonderfully illustrates this idea and has been rather accurate in forecasting technological trends.

By NeedCokeNow – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27546041

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle as of mid-2017, the following technologies lie in the following regions of the hype cycle:

Innovation Trigger

  • Artificial General Intelligence
  • Quantum Computing

Peak of Inflated Expectations

  • Virtual Assistants
  • Machine Learning
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Blockchain

Trough of Disillusionment

  • Augmented Reality (5-10 years to reach “plateau of productivity”)

Slope of Enlightenment

  • Virtual Reality (2-5 years to reach “plateau of productivity”)

 

The emerging technologies mentioned above are in vogue to discuss in think pieces and at cocktail parties. But they are far from the realm of full implementation or achieving any meaningful ROI.

An article by John Elkington and Richard Johnson bring the lofty expectations of the latest technologies down to earth with these two insights:

“Business models are what connect a technology’s potential with real market needs and consumer demand.”

“So those hype cycle charts are great at indicating where we are on the various tech cycles. But remember that business models are the key to determining which technologies take off–and which crash and burn.”

From the ascent of solar panels to the digitization of insurance services they offer business cases that support their argument.

So when the siren call of that shiny new technological bauble calls to you with promises of instant returns and an intrinsic solution, it’s worth it to step back a minute and make sure you know where it is in the hype cycle and whether it’s worth the investment. You just may find your business model needs a re-evaluation in order to harness the current technological landscape.