by December 1, 2004 0 comments



Elsewhere in this issue, (100 Tech Trends 2005, page 110) we make predictions on which way technology is likely to go in the coming year. This piece explains some of the theory behind our classifications. 

Technology adoption curve
When discussing the rate of technology adoption, one is likely to come across the Gartner Hype Curve. The Hype Curve is an adaptation of the theory of Diffusion of Innovations first set forth by Everett Rogers in 1962 in his book by the same name. Rogers posited that adopters of a new idea or innovation could be divided into five types, namely innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards, and innovation would spread through society in an S-curve.

Technologies What
happened
DSL Happened, happening in a big
way
Directory
Services
Happened, sort of
DVD Happening, big time
FireWire Happened
New
Human Interface Tech
Not yet
Everything
over IP
Happened
IPv6 Not yet
Java Happened big time
MPEG
4
Hot and happening, but MPEG 2
is still happening
Smart
Cards
Happening

Geoffrey A Moore (not to be confused with Gordon E Moore of Moore’s law fame) in his book Crossing the Chasm, 1991, discusses issues of marketing high-tech products and sets out that in the case of high-tech markets, the technology adoption cycle is not continuous, but that there exists a chasm between the early adopters and the early majority, because of differing expectations between the visionaries and the pragmatists.

As an aside, how good are we at judging the future? 

Companies Where
they stand today
Apple iTunes
made legal music downloads affordable. The iPod
Compaq Did it make
a difference? To HP it did!
HP Has gone on
to become the number one IT vendor in India
IBM Is
still a significant player in too many boats to be ignored
Intel Drove many
trends, driving wireless currently
Lucent Has more or
less dropped out of sight
Microsoft Any doubts
whether this one merits watching?
Palm Fell
drastically after the PDA market refused to zoom off
Sony Yet to make
a significant impact in things computing
Sun Still
waiting for the next big thing after Java
Epson Has given
the lead to HP, at least in the Indian market
Nokia Owns
the bulk of the Indian cellphone market
Macromedia Have they
slowed down recently?
Oracle Manages to
be in the news, for lawsuits, if not for products
RedHat Made
open-source a profitable and working business model
Moral
of the story:
We are better at predicting technology than business
trends!

As a case study, consider our December 1999 issue where we talked of 10 technologies for the future (page 119) and 15
technology companies to watch out for (page 99). Four years later, what is our success rate?

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