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Gartner’s 2012 Hype Cycle for Emerging technologies comes with a new insight: tipping points. A tipping point is a single technology component that once perfected provides a broad array of breakthrough capabilities. Gartner’s point is that often a number of technologies are required to make some new capability possible. There are certain critical path technologies that need to be in place before these capabilities can be realized. Gartner is now interpreting the peak of their Hype Cycle graph as an indicator for which technologies are nearing the ‘tipping point’.
Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner, said that ”The theme of this year’s Hype Cycle is the concept of ‘tipping points’… We are at an interesting moment, a time when many of the scenarios we have been talking about for a long time are almost becoming reality. The smarter smartphone is a case in point. It is now possible to look at a smartphone and unlock it via facial recognition, and then talk to it to ask it to find the nearest ATM… However, at the same time, we see that the technology is not quite there yet. We might have to remove our glasses for the facial recognition to work, our smartphones do not always understand us when we speak, and the location-sensing technology sometimes has trouble finding us.”
This year’s graph is crammed with emerging technologies — 48 in all and more than Gartner has ever put on a hype chart since they started using it in 1995. Actually, Gartner is tracking 1900 different technologies organized into 92 different categories, but only 48 made the cut for the chart.
Gartner tried to organize the many new technologies into six primary groups to better understand the direction of where things are going.
Any device, anywhere. Category technologies include internet of things, HTML5, and BYOD.
Smart Planet. Technologies include autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, big data, complex event processing and telematics.
Global Scale Computing. Cloud, in-memory database management, quantum computing.
Human Layer. Technologies include augmented reality, gestures, biometrics, speech recognition, and text analytics.
Currency. Substitutes for cash and plastic.
Digital to Physical. 3D printing and scanning.