Visualizing Technology Hype Cycles (2000-2018)
Nothing captures our collective imagination quite like emerging technology.
In a short amount of time, technological innovations such as wireless internet and social networking have become a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives, quietly transforming the way we live, work, and communicate. Other promising technologies have their moment in the sun, only to fade into obscurity.
Gartner’s Hype Cycle charts the roller coaster ride of emerging tech, from the first stirrings of public awareness to the point of wider adoption and economic viability. Today’s graphic is a retrospective look at which trends scaled the summit of the Hype Cycle each year since 2000.
Reaching the Peak
As the media searches for the next big thing, certain technologies tend to dominate the headlines. Meanwhile, venture capital flows into the companies racing to bring the tech to market, valuations swell, marketing departments generate excitement, and the expectations of the general public begin to grow as well.
One example of this phenomenon at work is the adoption of microblogging. Today, we don’t think twice about posting a tweet or updating our status on Facebook, but a decade ago, the act of posting a short public message was major shift in the way people used technology to communicate with one another. The intense buzz that sent microblogging towards the top of the Hype Cycle is corroborated by Google Search data.
Living Up to the Hype
A few technologies transcend the hype to transform entire industries. Here are some examples that lived up to their time in the spotlight.
Right from the beginning, the analogy of data breaking the shackles of folders and clunky external drives – instead zipping efficiently into the invisible cloud – generated a lot of excitement. It felt like the future of computing, and enterprises and individuals eagerly adopted the technology.
Today, Microsoft and Amazon’s cloud computing divisions each make $6-7 billion in revenue per quarter, and that number is still growing at a brisk pace.
Near Field Communication – the technology that enables contactless payments – is transforming the way people pay for purchases around the world.
The global contactless payments market is expected to reach $138.4 billion by 2023. Here’s a look at where NFC payments are making the greatest in-roads:
The Ones That Underwhelmed
During the Christmas season of 2009, Kindle became the most gifted item in Amazon’s history. This watershed moment looked like the end of physical books as the public embraced the e-reader as the new way of consuming text.
Fast-forward to today, and only 19% of adults in the U.S. own an e-reader.
Of course, not every technology that grabs the headlines is going to become the next iPhone. Here are some others that didn’t immediately meet expectations after topping the Hype Cycle.
Some concepts fail primarily because they’re ahead of their time. Such is the case with mobile commerce.
By 2001, more than half of Americans owned mobile phones, and this represented a huge opportunity. Unfortunately, early m-commerce was restricted by the limitations of mobile phones of that time period. It wasn’t until the introduction of smartphones that the concept really took off. Today, nearly half of all online transactions are made via mobile devices.
Few technologies reach the fever pitch that 3D printing did in 2012. From the $1.4 billion merger of the largest players in the sector to the reports of firearm blueprints circulating the web, you could forgive people for believing that the 3D printer was destined to become the next microwave. In the end, interest in 3D printing leveled off.
While it is getting used for prototyping in many different industries, it remains to be seen whether the technology will ever achieve the wide consumer-level adoption that was promised.
When 2019’s Hype Cycle is released later this year, it remains to be seen which technology will rise to the top. Based on the trajectory from last year, search volume, and current news reports, 5G is a strong competitor.
The Impressive Stats Behind Amazon’s Dominance of the Cloud
Do you watch Netflix or use Facebook? If so, then you are indirectly leveraging Amazon’s incredible scale and dominance of the cloud.
To the average person, cloud computing must seem quite magical.
All at once, the cloud provides instant access to all of your data, photos, music, and applications, without you having to store any of that data locally. In fact, users can access the cloud from practically anywhere in the world, and across multiple devices and platforms.
Yet, this all happens without you actually seeing any visible infrastructure. With data now being created at record speeds, where the heck is all this information being physically stored?
The Rise of AWS
Even though you can’t see the vast infrastructure that runs the cloud, it does exist somewhere.
As today’s infographic from RapidValue shows, much of this infrastructure is owned and operated by Amazon, through its extremely profitable subsidiary of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Here are the key stats on this dominant service that powers much of the internet today:
Amazon Web Services (AWS) quietly launched in 2002, and in a short time has been able to scale into the largest single player in cloud computing (IaaS, PaaS).
While it is a well-known name to software developers, AWS emerged on a more mainstream basis once its financials were separated from those of parent Amazon.com.
Even in 2018, AWS delivered most of Amazon’s operating income.
AWS By the Numbers
To understand the true scale of AWS, you need to look at the numbers.
- AWS has over 1 million active users in 190 countries
- AWS has 5x more deployed cloud infrastructure as their next 14 competitors combined
- Each day, AWS adds as much infrastructure as they used to run in total 7 years back
- Amazon S3 is designed to deliver 99.999999999% durability and scale past trillions of objects worldwide
- AWS partner, Netflix, accounts for up to one-third of Internet traffic during peak usage times
- AWS accounts for 41.5% of the public cloud market, bigger than Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, and IBM combined
Through incredible economies of scale, AWS has decreased its prices at least as many as 60 times since its launch – and despite this, AWS generated a whopping $26 billion in revenue for parent Amazon in 2018.
Tech Founders Predict the Next Wave of Startup Growth
Which U.S. startups are best poised for growth and spin-off success? This chart shares insights from over 500 tech founders about the state of startups.
Tech Founders Predict the Next Wave of Startup Growth
Today’s tech founders have unique insights into the evolving arena of innovation and are keenly aware of why some companies succeed more than others. Many have worked with multiple startups and have gone on to invest in successful tech unicorns.
This week’s chart comes from First Round’s State of Startups 2018 survey, in which 529 founders shared their predictions on the tech startups best poised for growth and spin-off success.
Tech Startup Valuations
Stripe, the payments startup darling, has already grown from $1.8 billion in valuation in 2013 to over $22 billion today. According to the tech founders surveyed, 19% see Stripe continuing on this path in the years to come.
Q: Which U.S.-based tech startup’s value will increase the most in the next 10 years?
|Rank||Startup||% of respondents|
It’s worth noting that this list includes some startups that have already IPO’d since the survey was released in December 2018.
In fact, in the first half of 2019, we’ve already seen Pinterest, Lyft, Uber, and Slack hit the market. Slack’s public offering was the most notable, as they chose to go the direct listing route. The share price still jumped 48.5% less than 24 hours after they went public.
The Next PayPal Mafia?
The PayPal Mafia is a legendary group of billionaire investor-entrepreneurs that have had far-reaching influence in the tech world since they parted ways with PayPal.
Not only did members of this group go on to start many major unicorns, including YouTube, SpaceX, LinkedIn, and Palantir, but some members have invested in over 100 startups each. This “giving back” has had a monumental impact on the Silicon Valley ecosystem, planting the seeds that would emerge as many of today’s star companies.
Q: Which U.S.-based company is most likely to spin out the next generation of notable founders over the next five years?
|Rank||Startup||% of respondents|
Current tech founders predict that the companies listed in this survey will be perfect launching points for many of the world’s future tech founders.
Of all U.S.-based tech startups, Uber is predicted to be a top contender for producing the next generation of startup talent by 2023.
Other Survey Findings
Interestingly, over 60% of founders believe that the world is in a technology bubble, with evenly split reviews on whether it’s either nowhere close or very close to popping.
While 57% of founders believe the U.S. will continue to dominate the tech world, 39% predict China’s growth will become the world’s hub for tech innovation by 2028.
Only time will tell, as tensions between the U.S. and China continue to heat up, and the global recruitment of tech talent becomes increasingly competitive.
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