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The hype cycle is a branded graphical presentation developed and used by the American research, advisory and information technology firm Gartner, for representing the...

The hype cycle is a branded graphical presentation developed and used by the American research, advisory and information technology firm Gartner, for representing the maturity, adoption and social application of specific technologies. The hype cycle provides a graphical and slope development theories pdf presentation of the maturity of emerging technologies through five phases.


We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run. Each hype cycle drills down into the five key phases of a technology’s life cycle. A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off.

Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven. Early publicity produces a number of success stories—often accompanied by scores of failures. Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver.

Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investment continues only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters. More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers.

Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined.

The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off. The term “hype cycle” and each of the associated phases are now used more broadly in the marketing of new technologies. Internet, is a common characteristic. But following shortly after the period of ‘inflated expectations’, as per the diagram above, the new media technologies quickly fall into a period of disenchantment, which is the end of the primary, and strongest, phase of hype.

Many analyses of the Internet in the 1990s featured large amounts of hype, which created “debunking” responses. However, such hype and the negative and positive responses toward it have given way to research that looks empirically at new media and its impact.

A longer-term historical perspective on such cycles can be found in the research of the economist Carlota Perez. D R Laurence in clinical pharmacology described a similar process in drug development in the seventies. There have been numerous criticisms of the hype cycle, prominent among which are that it is not a cycle, that the outcome does not depend on the nature of the technology itself, that it is not scientific in nature, and that it does not reflect changes over time in the speed at which technology develops. Another is that the “cycle” has no real benefits to the development or marketing of new technologies and merely comments on pre-existing trends.

The cycle is not scientific in nature, and there is no data or analysis that would justify the cycle. The terms are misleading in the sense that one gets the wrong idea what he or she can use a technology for. The user does not want to be disappointed, so should he or she stay away from technology in the Trough of Disillusionment? No action perspective is offered to move technology to a next phase.

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