Gartner Forecasts Timeline for Adoption of New Technologies

Gartner Research reported on emerging workflows for new technologies. In the Gartner Emerging Tech Hype Cycle, the company studied 2,000 emerging technologies and identified 32 that could create competitive advantages over the next ten years. Gartner tracked these technologies’ progress and assessed their chances for entering the mainstream market. Among the technologies it identified are augmented reality, virtual reality and some forms of artificial intelligence, followed by blockchain.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Gartner’s report “charts the technologies by years out until mass adoption as well as their perceived stage of use within enterprises, from the technology breakthrough, classified by Gartner as the Innovation Trigger, through the last two stages leading towards mass adoption: Slope of Enlightenment and the Plateau of Productivity.”

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“Innovation isn’t a steady line that moves upwards,” said Gartner research director Mike Walker. “It goes in peaks and valleys, and you’ll see a spur of innovation that’s going to cause a trigger in the marketplace or rapid advancement.”

Between discovery and adoption, Gartner also identified the Peak of Inflated Expectations “where early publicity produces hype around the technology, and the Trough of Disillusionment, where interest wanes as some experiments fail to deliver.”

Virtual reality is so far “furthest along Gartner’s Hype Circle” as “more companies are beginning to see the potential benefits of developing immersive digital experiences using virtual reality headsets for both consumers and employees.” Gartner expects VR will “reach mainstream adoption within two to five years.”

With regard to artificial intelligence, Gartner expects deep learning and machine learning to reach mainstream adoption also within two to five years. According to Walker, “there’s no industry that’s immune” to the impact of AI.

Commercial drones are another sector that Gartner identifies as “prime for experiments and implementations,” with mainstream adoption within two to five years. Wide adoption of augmented reality is still five to 10 years in the future, says Gartner, which notes AR is currently in the “trough of disillusionment,” which “means interest has waned and some experiments have failed to deliver and companies now have a more realistic expectation of the technology.”

Blockchain is “poised to be transformational” but will also take between five and 10 years for wide adoption, having passed the Peak of Inflated Expectations stage. Walker “predicts quantum computing could have a high benefit to businesses, but it’s still more than a decade away from being widely adopted,” with biotechnology and automotive makers currently experimenting with it.

So-called smart dust — “tiny wireless micro-electromechanical systems that can detect measurements such as light and temperature” — is “at the earliest stage of the Hype Cycle and more than 10 years from becoming widely adopted.”