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Virtual worlds on the updated hype cycle


Every year Gartner updates the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, included the newest technological trends and developments. A few months ago Gartner published the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2007. Interesting to see that according to Gartner web2.0 is already passed its hype (but this may be due to the typical 18-24 month lag between the U.S. and Europe).


Gartner identifies three key technologies:

  • Web 2.0: The community, technology and business innovations of the web continue to evolve and specific approaches and technologies have progressed including wikis, mashups, enterprise RSS, social network analysis and collective intelligence. The product and platform underpinnings have been more tightly defined in the 2007 hype cycle, with entries for web platforms and Web 2.0 workplace technologies.
  • User Interfaces: A number of emerging user interface technologies are entering serious commercialisation, including electronic paper (for mobile devices and signage), gesture recognition (as incorporated in the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Surface) and virtual environments/virtual worlds (such as Second Life).
  • Mobile: Mobile and wireless technologies, devices, and services continue to be an active area for emerging technology groups.

According to the Priority Matrix (see below), ten of the 36 key emerging technologies examined in this year’s hype cycle have been designated as having a transformational business impact and should be strongly considered for adoption by technology planners in the next ten years. These ten includes virtual environments:


I had the strong feeling that the virtual worlds are passed its hype, but actually perhaps Gartner has a point here. Its Second Life that perhaps blinds us a bit in our ‘post hype depression’ while indeed the whole spectrum of virtual environments is still not over its peak. And they define ‘portable personality’ as still in its early stage, presuming this also includes the whole thing with interportability of avatars and profiles this is indeed something that only just now is starting to develop with quite a big technology push of companies like IBM and Philips. What I think is interesting is to look at all those new technologies that are now starting to develop in the ’slipstream’ of Second Life. Mashups with television, widgets in virtual worlds, mobile services for virtual environments (or the other way around), etc….

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