Hyped technologies for 2006

Gartner tips Web 2.0 for the trough

Collective intelligence enables new ways of doing business across industries that will result in major shifts in industry dynamics. Gartner rates it as transformational: it is expected to reach mainstream adoption in five to 10 years. Collective intelligence is an approach to producing intellectual content (such as code, documents, indexing and decisions) that results from individuals working together with no centralised authority. This is seen as a more cost-efficient way of producing content, metadata, software and certain services.

Mashups are lightweight tactical integrations of applications or content into a single offering. Because mashups leverage data and services from public websites and web applications, they're lightweight in implementation and built with a minimal amount of code. Their primary business benefit is that they can quickly meet tactical needs with reduced development costs and improved user satisfaction. Gartner warns that because they combine data and logic from multiple sources, they're vulnerable to failures in any one of those sources. Mashup is rated as moderate on the Hype Cycle but is expected to hit mainstream adoption in less than two years.

2. Real World Web

Increasingly, real-world objects will not only contain local processing capabilities – due to the falling size and cost of microprocessors – but they will also be able to interact with their surroundings through sensing and networking capabilities.

The emergence of this Real World Web will bring the power of the web, which today is perceived as a "separate" virtual place, to the user's point of need of information or transaction.

Technologies rated as having particularly high impact include:

Location-aware technologies should hit maturity in less than two years. Location-aware technology is the use of GPS (global positioning system), assisted GPS (A-GPS), Enhanced Observed Time Difference (EOTD), enhanced GPS (E-GPS), and other technologies in the cellular network and handset to locate a mobile user.</p

Users should evaluate the potential benefits to their business processes of location-enabled products such as personal navigation devices (for example, TomTom or Garmin) or Bluetooth-enabled GPS receivers, as well as WLAN location equipment that may help automate complex processes, such as logistics and maintenance.

Whereas the market sees consolidation around a reduced number of high-accuracy technologies, the location service ecosystem will benefit from a number of standardised application interfaces to deploy location services and applications for a wide range of wireless devices.

Location-aware applications will hit mainstream adoption in the next two to five years. An increasing number of organisations have deployed location-aware mobile business applications, mostly based on GPS-enabled devices, to support queue business processes and activities, such as field force management, fleet management, logistics and good transportation.

The market is in an early adoption phase, and Europe is slightly ahead of the United States, due to the higher maturity of mobile networks, their availability and standardisation.

Sensor Mesh Networks are ad hoc networks formed by dynamic meshes of peer nodes, each of which includes simple networking, computing and sensing capabilities. Some implementations offer low-power operation and multi-year battery life. Technologically aggressive organisations looking for low-cost sensing and robust self-organising networks with small data transmission volumes should explore sensor networking.

The market is still immature and fragmented, and there are few standards, so suppliers will evolve and equipment could become obsolete relatively rapidly. Therefore, this area should be seen as a tactical investment, as mainstream adoption is not expected for more than 10 years.

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