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

Ann All

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.

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Aug 13, 2008 12:48 PM WebDesignMiami WebDesignMiami  says:
For a few good chuckles, I suggest you Google the following and browse the first 20-30 returns:failures Gartner Groupwarnings Gartner GroupGartner Group expectsGartner Group predictsAnd as for "Web 2.0":Like so many tech articles posted since Tim O'Reilly coined the term in 2004, this one references "Web 2.0" as if it were something tangible--or at least a concept with clear, concise definition. It is not. In 2006, Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee sagely observed that "nobody knows what it means":http://tinyurl.com/y6ewzyIn 2007, Michael Wesch put together this video that supposedly "explains what Web 2.0 really is about":http://tinyurl.com/6pdz2qIt is a cool video. But the message is all about XML and how it can be used to separate form and content. There was no mention of CSS and XHTML, but no matter. I was writing XML parsers in the '90s, and XHTML/CSS web design pre-dates "Web 2.0" as well. And now in 2008, the most honest thing we can say is that "Web 2.0" means whatever the techno-marketeer (ab)using it wants it to mean. Otherwise, why would intelligent people like Isaac O'Bannon still be writing articles asking "What is Web 2.0?":http://tinyurl.com/5solokAnd, why would McKinsey's just-released best-of-breed report entitled "Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise" ...http://tinyurl.com/6sxls7... include no attempt at defining the term other than to list the "Web 2.0 Tools" that comprise or enable it? And even there, the chief ingredient is identified only as "Web Services", adding more mystery to the mix as one ethereal term is offered up to explain another.As originated in an Onstartups.com website design posting...http://tinyurl.com/576sgs... "Web 2.0" is like pornography: Nobody has defined it, but you know it when you see it.Bruce Arnold, Web Designer, Miami Floridahttp://www.PervasivePersuasion.com Reply
Aug 14, 2008 10:31 AM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:
Since we are talking about the enterprise here, I take a slightly different slant but agree with all the sentiment in the article and most of the points in the replies. Http://franciscarden.blogspot.com Reply
Aug 14, 2008 2:39 PM Kishore Kumar Kishore Kumar  says:
The tools define Web 2.0 - wikis, blogs, communities, web services. Clearly these are about collaboration and sharing.What was Web 1.0 about? Mostly about one-directional information flows by means of "web sites". In the business world these web sites sold products and services.This is why there is no confusion about the term Web 2.0 (these is a large difference from Web 1.0) though no one has precisely defined it.This is also why business people are finding it hard to become enthusiastic about Web 2.0 . What exactly do you sell with wikis, blogs, communities, web services ? The answer is not obvious. Hence the absence of excitement.Application of Web 2.0 necessaryly emerge in areas other than web storefronts (which is so-Web 1.0). Blogs as opinion makers in journalism, wikis for collaboration of multi-geography project teams, communities for advertising (finally something related to selling!), web services for info sharing (what info, why should it be shared, how do I make money on it?). Unlike traditional versioning, Web 2.0 will never replace Web 1.0. It is really a add-on to Web 1.0.Some businesses are trying to figure out how Web 2.0 can help them . For instance, insurance companies are experimenting with wikis for helping specialist underwriters collaborate when underwriting high-value risks, healthcare companies are experimenting with wikis for electronic medical records (which the patients and physicians can edit and keep up to date). Quite possible these may reach maturity in a couple of years. Reply
Aug 16, 2008 3:22 PM Robear Robear  says:
WebDesignMiami's post was far more interesting than the article itself. The article say's Web 2.0 isn't living up to expectations, then goes on to say it will reach full adoption levels within 2 years??? That sounds like a whole lot of projects going on and money being spent to reach that point.WebDesignMiami posted some intersting stuff, so why can't IT Business Edge do the same thing! Reply

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