There’s a good piece by V.C. Peter Gardner, head of telecomm investments at 3i, on the fabled Gartner Hype Cycle and its applicability to contemporary technologies.
“The Gartner Hype Cycle, introduced back in 1995, has aided our understanding of the causes of business failures amongst early-stage technologies. Gartner explains how technologies are "hyped up" and appear to be far more developed, both in technology maturity and also market readiness, than they really are. One recent example from mobile communications markets is WAP, where there was an incredible amount of hype, which in reality the technology failed to match up to. Unified messaging also appeared to be a great idea, but it never convinced the IS managers. In both of these, the telecoms market misread the consumer demand. Both of these dived spectacularly into the Trough of Disillusionment and appear bound to stay there.
“VoIP on the other hand, which had a similar profile of being over-hyped and failing to deliver because of perceived quality problems, has now passed through the Trough of Disillusionment and is firmly on the Slope of Enlightenment and approaching the Plateau of Productivity. That is significantly helped by the emergence of broadband rather than dial-up as the consumer bearer.
“Yahoo! and Google are examples of high profile successes that fit the hype model well. Yahoo! floated towards the Peak of Expectations and was valued with a lot of hype. Then followed the slump of 2001 and 2002. Businesses like Yahoo! and Amazon.com have now emerged as successful and profitable businesses maturing towards the Plateau of Productivity, enabling Google to have its value recognised.”
I’d link to the piece, but it is locked behind the costwall. Total Telecom is a UK pub at www.totaltele.com.