Good News, Bad News for Web 2.0 in Gartner's Hype Cycle


Add Gartner to the list of analysts weighing in with a recent opinion on Web 2.0 technologies.


As I wrote earlier this week, depending on which company is providing the analysis, Web 2.0 isn't living up to expectations, is beginning to prove itself, or isn't even on the radar of many tech executives. Gartner just released its annual Hype Cycle report on emerging technologies, which positions Web 2.0 near its dreaded Trough of Disillusionment. Despite this, according to a CIO Insight item, Gartner predicts Web 2.0 will reach mainstream adoption levels within two years and will have a "transformational" impact on enterprises. The only other technologies predicted to hit broad adoption levels within two years are Web services and corporate blogging.


Gartner also expects service-oriented architecture and cloud computing to have a "transformational" impact by "driving deep changes in the role and capabilities of IT" and to be widely adopted within five years. While Gartner shows cloud computing as nearing its Peak of Inflated Expectations (thanks to last year's TIME cover story, no doubt), I wonder if recent service outages at Google, Amazon and other providers may set adoption back a few years.


Gartner has taken some flack in previous years for not including technologies until they were already old hat to many tech industry types. There seems less chance of that this year, with entries like 3-D printing, augmented reality and mobile robots.


IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson wrote about some interesting applications of 3-D technology last October, but printing wasn't among them. Robots sound pretty out there, but companies are already using them for all kinds of tasks, as I wrote in November. The only reference I could find to augmented reality on our site was in a set of predictions from futurologist Ian Pearson, who also says folks will wear "digital bubble" devices to radiate their Web presence to passersby.


Green IT, social computing platforms, video telepresence, microblogging and many of the 27 other technologies will become mainstream within five years as well, predicts Gartner. Behavioral economics, surface computers, 3-D printing, context delivery architecture, virtual assistants and RFID (which has been mired in that Trough of Disillusionment for an awfully long time) will become mainstream in five to 10 years. Augmented reality, mobile robots and erasable paper printing systems won't become mainstream in the next decade. Maybe the best news: None of the 27 technologies earned Gartner's least favorable categorization, obsolete before plateau.