Gartner Group's Hype Cycle

Hype Cycle graph

The sequence of events experienced by an overly-hyped product or technology are:

Technology trigger.
A breakthrough, public demonstration, product launch or other event that generates significant press and industry interest.
Peak of inflated expectations.
A phase of overenthusiasm and unrealistic projections during which a flurry of publicized activity by technology leaders results in some successes but more failures as the technology is pushed to its limits. The only enterprises making money at this stage are conference organizers and magazine publishers.
Trough of disillusionment.
The point at which the technology becomes unfashionable and the press abandons the topic, because the technology did not live up to its overinflated expectations.
Slope of enlightenment.
Focused experimentation and solid hard work by an increasingly diverse range of organizations lead to a true understanding of the technology's applicability, risks and benefits. Commercial off-the-shelf methodologies and tools become available to ease the development process.
Plateau of productivity.
The real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted. Tools and methodologies are increasingly stable as they enter their second and third generation. The final height of the plateau varies according to whether the technology is broadly applicable or only benefits a niche market.

The "hype cycle" phrase emerged from the fertile mind of Gartner Group analyst, Jackie Fenn, who wrote a report titled The Microsoft System Software Hype Cycle Strikes Again in July, 1995. (Old technology hands will immediately guess the overly-hyped product that inspired the report — Windows 95.)

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