MarTech Trends: What Technologies Live Up to the Hype?

Five speech bubbles with question marks in the middle, representing doubt on hype around martech trends.
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Every year there is a predictable pattern regarding emerging technologies. A flavor-of-the-month technology application or solution gets touted by a variety of self-appointed tech visionaries. But fast forward, and much more often than not, the technology doesn’t stick, and slips away into nostalgic memory.

So, what technologies live up to their hype and can deliver a real return on investment (ROI) for businesses that use them appropriately?

Understanding The Gartner Hype Cycle

One cannot begin a discussion about technology hype without first talking about Gartner, the company who first tried to track and quantify hype cycles. 

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a graphical representation of the maturity, adoption, and application of emerging technologies. It measures emerging technology through five phases:

  • The Innovation Trigger
  • A Peak of Inflated Expectations
  • The Trough of Disillusionment
  • A Slope of Enlightenment, and the
  • Plateau of Productivity

While the Gartner Hype curve is intended to be unbiased and predictive, it’s not scientific in nature and is not based on quantitative data. Instead, the information that feeds the hype cycle is based on people’s subjective feedback and feelings about technology. That being said, no other company has tried to truly address and measure technology hype, while giving attention to ones that will deliver ROI for a company.

The Gartner Hype Cycle 2022

For the 2022 Gartner Hype Cycle, the company identified 25 emerging technologies grouped into three main themes:

  • Evolving and expanding immersive experiences,
  • Accelerated artificial intelligence (AI) automation, and
  • Optimized technology delivery.

While some of these technologies will go on to live up to their promise and impact business and society in significant ways, others will not and will fade away into public consciousness. The best of these technologies that live up to their hype will enable CIOs and technology leaders to accelerate and deliver on digital transformation plans.

Let’s look at some of these critical technologies and see which ones will live up to the hype.

Blockchain: Is it Emerging Technology?

Before we talk about blockchain-based technologies like Web3 and NFT, let’s be clear about something. Blockchain is not new or emerging technology. It has been around for decades, and emerging technologies that are based on it perhaps should not be called emerging technologies at all, since the core technology is not emerging. Regardless of whether it is new and emerging or not, it is being hyped and marketed that way.

Blockchain is a real market with promise around certain applications, but whether that promise is cryptocurrency, or Web3, remains to be seen. The size of the global blockchain market is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion by 2025, according to PR Newswire. The worldwide spend on blockchain solutions is forecast to reach $17.9 billion by 2024 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.4 percent said IDC.

Web3

One of the most talked about concepts based on blockchain technology is the term Web3.

The promise of Web 3.0 is that the internet will develop a completely new underlying infrastructure based on blockchain technology. The stated goal by its proponents is this will provide more of a decentralized environment than current social media platforms, using token-based economics to perform transactions. The claim here is that this will make the internet more democratic and take away power from Big Tech. Other promises of an internet run on blockchain include improved data security, scalability, and data privacy.

But is this promise real or hype? Are its supporters, who seem to be primarily VCs with capital invested, hyping Web3 out of a noble vision for a better tomorrow, or are they just pumping up a market for profit? Will this new decentralized web simply take power from Big Tech and put it into the hands of VCs, putting data and security at risk to a new group of internet rulers?

AI Automation

AI automation has tremendous promise and benefits across the enterprise. AI automation works by applying AI to the development and training of AI models to improve and optimize product and solution creation and delivery. 

By leveraging AI automation, companies can have more accurate predictive analytics and receive actionable guidance for improved business performance. AI automation can not only make processes more efficient, agile, and scalable, but they can help to free up over-worked employees from doing routine, manual tasks and focus more on customer-centric strategy. AI automation has thousands of potential high-value applications for all types of organizations.

DevOps

DevOps is the evolution of the agile development method into a more cohesive strategy. It is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It embraces the concept of continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) in order to shorten the software development lifecycle. DevOps allows companies to automate data for faster software releases, cloud adoption and migration, and data privacy and security. DevOps will draw on AI automation to optimize data delivery for application releases. 

With data taking on more importance in companies as a strategic asset, being able to manage that data securely and use it for software development is core to the value of DevOps. Many DevOps platforms also have data masking technology incorporated to provide further data security and compliance for emerging data privacy regulations.

Looking Forward

Being able to sift through the hype when it comes to emerging technologies is critical for business and marketing leaders to know where to put their money for true business value and ROI.

Many technologies, like Web3, are being hyped because there are people with lots and lots of money who are promoting it. They are concepts based on old, not emerging technology.

Other technologies make their way because they have intrinsic value, not just monetary value to a small group. Technologies like AI automation have tremendous application and value across any type of business.

Processes and supporting technologies for DevOps will ensure corporations can incorporate valuable data into their operations in real-time. Both will succeed based on the merits of the technology, not just the latest trend.

Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson is the Founder and CEO of RoC Consulting, a digital consultancy that helps brands establish the optimal balance of content, technology and marketing to achieve their goals.
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