Simon Clayton: 5 key phases of a technology’s lifecycle

OrganisersTechnologyApps
hypecycle-NEW-resized.jpg

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech on understanding the hype cycle to help you decide if, or when to adopt a technology.

 

I’ve often written about the hype surrounding new tech products and our industry’s insistence on announcing them with fanfares and declarations that they’re life changing. This insistence in promoting untried tech can be confusing and organisers often say that choosing the right tech is the most confusing part of their role.

 

Anyone in this bewildering position may find it useful to consider this: all new technology goes through a ‘hype cycle’ – five key phases of a technology’s lifecycle. Understanding the hype cycle will help you decide if, or when to adopt a technology.

 

Broadly, it looks like this:

 

Technology Trigger: a technological breakthrough provides the catalyst that results in a new product. The possibilities seem endless, and excited press reports hype the potential. The physical product may not exist at this point, but even if it does, there are no case studies to show it in use or to prove its benefits.

 

Peak of Inflated Expectations: there may be a few positive case studies by now, accompanied by a flurry of wildly unsubstantiated press releases claiming that the technology is going to change everybody’s lives. What this actually means is that a few companies may have tried the technology, but it’s likely to be as a contra deal: “you can use our tech for free but only if you tell the world how brilliant it is”. There will also be some cases of the product being tried and failing – as people and their companies cut through the marketing promises and discover first hand what the product can and can’t do.

 

Trough of Disillusionment: interest starts to falls off – the trials have been done and many of the benefits that were originally claimed are proven to be wrong. Many tech providers walk away at this point and investment only continues if the surviving suppliers fine tune and hone their products to focus on real benefits.

 

Slope of Enlightenment: this is the slow but interesting part. More benefits come to light and the remaining tech providers start to create second and third generation versions – focusing on what works and what people want. A few light bulbs click on as people start to really understand the product’s potential.

 

Plateau of Productivity: The product hits the big time as mainstream adoption happens. Companies know what the product can do and understand its benefits. The marketing becomes more relevant to the right audience.

 

iBeacons were launched with a fanfare, but are currently lurking in the ‘trough of disillusionment’. I do think there is a use for them in our industry and over time I think they will move on to the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’.

 

Even the lofty iPhone followed this cycle. When it was launched it was only adopted by the die hard fan-boys, and became obsolete within a year. The iPhone 2 came next (the second generation product – as mentioned in the ‘slope of enlightenment’) and was launched at roughly the same time as the App Store which introduced the marvellous concept of adding personalised software to your phone (AKA a mobile handheld computer). These wonderful little apps heralded a new phase in mobile tech; without apps, Apple wouldn’t have the hold it has today – but they were a refinement rather than a founding principle of the iPhone.

 

But for every success story, there are at least a dozen gadgets that have failed to deliver on their promises and most organisers are cautious – they simply don’t have the death wish to be early adopters. My advice is to remain cautious, follow the cycle and look out for that ‘Slope of Enlightenment’. If there are too many unproven claims surrounding the real benefits of an emerging technology, it may be better to wait until others have been able to prove a technology’s worth before investing your company’s event budget.

 

Simon Clayton
Posted by Simon Clayton
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

Movers & Shakers 22/03/17

People moves at ExCeL London, Blitz|GES and more

New network for young #eventprofs launches

A new network aimed at young professionals in the business events industry has been launched, in the form of Meetings + Millennials.

Membership increase for ABPCO

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has reported a significant increase in interest from event organisers and industry suppliers looking to join professional organisations, with a membership growth of 20 per cent in the last year.

Others on EN

Positive challenges ahead

Positive challenges ahead

Chris Criscione, ESSA board chair and managing director Equinox Design looks ahead to ESSA’s next decade.
Don't knock it

Don't knock it

New technologies always seem outlandish, until they don’t, says Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech.
Good practice with data

Good practice with data

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech, on being open, transparent, and accurate about what you are doing with the data you handle.

CONFEX 2017 LIVE

Most Read Stories

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.
Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies, runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe, events and marketing manager at Europa International, talks about the importance of keeping up with the creativity amidst the chaos.

Latest News

Movers & Shakers 22/03/17

Movers & Shakers 22/03/17

People moves at ExCeL London, Blitz|GES and more
New network for young #eventprofs launches

New network for young #eventprofs launches

A new network aimed at young professionals in the business events industry has been launched, in the form of Meetings + Millennials.
Membership increase for ABPCO

Membership increase for ABPCO

The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) has reported a significant increase in interest from event organisers and industry suppliers looking to join professional organisations, with a membership growth of 20 per cent in the last year.

Latest Features

2 Minutes With Emily Shaw

2 Minutes With Emily Shaw

The new strategy director at FreemanXP talks rigour, empathy and Sharpies in all the colours of the rainbow.
The Wheel Deal

The Wheel Deal

What do you get when you cross a Hollywood film studio with a UK event organiser? A £25m deal and the launch of Fast & Furious Live of course...
Always have a back-up

Always have a back-up

In EN’s monthly Crisis Management column, Manny Singh, managing director of The National Asian Wedding Show, advocates the importance of having back-up systems in place.

Latest Galleries

London Book Fair 2017

London Book Fair 2017

From 14 to 16 March, more than 25,000 visitors from over 130 countries visited Olympia London for the 46th edition of The London Book Fair. A year of celebration, highlights included a tribute to The Wizard of Oz’s yellow brick road, the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, 70 years of Indian independence and much more.
LondonEdge celebrates 35th show

LondonEdge celebrates 35th show

Alternative fashion show LondonEdge returned to the Business Design Centre on 12-13 February, celebrating its 35th edition.
Crufts 2017

Crufts 2017

Pedigree dog show, Crufts, once again celebrated all that is great about dogs when it returned to the NEC on 9-12 March. The show attracts around 22,000 dogs annually from around the world, competing for a place in the prestigious Best in Show final.