Navigating the Hype Cycle: Understanding the Internet of Things

Navigating the Hype Cycle: Understanding the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been hailed as the next big thing in technology, with its potential to revolutionize the way we live and work. However, like any new technology, it has also gone through the hype cycle, with inflated expectations followed by disillusionment and eventual stabilization. In this article, we will take a closer look at the IoT hype cycle and provide insights on how to navigate it.

The Hype Cycle

The hype cycle is a model developed by Gartner, a leading research firm, to describe the process of technology adoption. It consists of five stages – the technology trigger, the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and the plateau of productivity. The IoT has gone through each of these stages in its evolution.

The Technology Trigger

The technology trigger marks the birth of a new technology. For the IoT, this was in the early 2000s when RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology began to be used to track inventory in warehouses. However, it wasn’t until the advent of smartphones and ubiquitous connectivity that the true potential of the IoT began to be realized.

The Peak of Inflated Expectations

The peak of inflated expectations is when the hype around a new technology reaches its zenith. For the IoT, this was around 2014-2015, when every device seemed to be getting connected to the internet. The media was full of stories about smart homes, smart cars, and smart cities. However, as with any new technology, the hype was not sustainable.

The Trough of Disillusionment

The trough of disillusionment is when the hype dies down, and the technology fails to deliver on its promised benefits. For the IoT, this was around 2016-2017 when it became apparent that many IoT devices were not secure and could be easily hacked. There were also concerns around data privacy and ownership. Many companies, particularly in the consumer space, have struggled to monetize their IoT offerings.

The Slope of Enlightenment

The slope of enlightenment is when the technology begins to mature, and best practices emerge. For the IoT, this is happening now. Companies are investing in IoT infrastructure and platforms, and there are more use cases emerging beyond consumer applications. For example, in the industrial space, IoT sensors can be used to monitor and optimize machinery, leading to cost savings and efficiency gains.

The Plateau of Productivity

The plateau of productivity is when the technology becomes mainstream and is widely adopted. For the IoT, this is still some way off, but we can see signs of progress. The number of IoT devices in use is expected to surpass 30 billion by 2025, and the market for IoT platforms is set to reach $18 billion by 2023.


Navigating the hype cycle of the IoT can be challenging, but it’s essential to separate the hype from reality. It’s important to focus on use cases where the IoT can deliver tangible benefits, rather than trying to jump on the bandwagon of every new IoT device. By working with trusted vendors and partners, and keeping security and data privacy in mind, businesses can successfully navigate the hype cycle and take advantage of the real opportunities that the IoT offers.

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