The 2011 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle shows a surge of new activity, particularly in the lead up to the Peak of Inflated Expectations. The following technologies have been added to the 2011 Hype Cycle for emerging technologies that were not part of the 2010 Hype Cycle:
3D bioprinting: Directed by medical imaging data and software that would specify the living tissue/organ design, a 3D bioprinter printing will literally "print" a functioning human organ from an individual's own cells. 3D bioprinting is one of several innovative tissue-growing approaches under study.
Video analytics for customer service: Video analytics is mostly being deployed for security purposes (for example, tracking suspicious behavior or trespassing). The retail industry is the biggest user of video analytics — outside of security — to identify and analyze foot traffic, and identify customer events.
Social TV: Social TV is the integration of social networks into the traditional TV space to enable users to share TV-viewing experiences with friends and followers.
"Big data" and extreme information processing and management: "Big data" is the term adopted by the market to describe extreme information management and processing issues, which make traditional IT inadequate for using the information assets. It shifts existing practices of selecting which data to integrate toward the concept that all information can be integrated and analyzed. Big data also deals with the increased velocity of data to make near-real-time analysis of large datasets possible.
Natural language question answering: Natural language question answering applications provide users with a means of asking a question in plain language that a computer or service can answer with a meaningful response in a reasonable time frame. The computing power required to accomplish a genuinely effective question answering system — even in a single domain — is great, but will become more accessible with time.
Internet of Things: The Internet of Things is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as physical items such as consumer devices and physical assets are connected to the Internet. The vision and concept have existed for years; however, there has been acceleration in the number and types of things that are being connected.
Context-enriched services: Context-enriched services use information about a person or an object to proactively anticipate the user's need, and serve up the content, product or service most appropriate to the user. This entry replaces the less-mature context delivery architecture entry used in 2010, to focus on the application and benefit layer.
Image recognition: Image recognition technologies strive to identify objects, people, buildings, places, logos, and anything else that has value to consumers and enterprises. Smartphones and tablets equipped with cameras have pushed this technology from mainly industrial applications (for example, sorting fruit) to broad consumer and enterprise applications.
Gamification: "Gamification" is the use of game mechanics in nonentertainment environments to change user behavior, drive engagement and encourage higher levels of participation. Gamification is being applied to many different challenges relating to, for example, innovation, education, employee performance, healthcare, social change, business and work planning.
Group buying: Group buying is an aspect of social commerce in which an offer (usually a steep discount) is made by an organization to potential customers, on the condition that a certain number of people accept the offer. With startups being hyped in the press, and the dominant Web players announcing their own offerings, this is a fast-moving market with a likelihood of acquisitions of smaller players by larger technology providers.
NFC payment: NFC allows users to make payments by waving their mobile phone in front of a compatible reader. Usually, the transaction can be done within a distance of 10 centimeters of the reader. Once NFC is embedded in a critical mass of phones for payment, industries such as public transportation, airlines, retail and healthcare can explore other areas in which NFC technology can improve efficiency and customer services.
In-memory database management systems: An in-memory database management system (IMDBMS) is a DBMS that stores the entire database structure in memory and accesses the database directly, without the use of input/output instructions, allowing the applications to run completely in-memory. This will enable real-time analytics for planning systems, inventory control and many other pattern-based applications requiring real-time access to data.
Machine-to-machine communication services: Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is a business concept used for automated data transmission and measurement between mechanical or electronic devices. It will dramatically improve the efficiency of device and machine management, and will connect billions of new devices and machines. Much of the M2M communications will happen over wireless networks.
Hosted virtual desktops: A hosted virtual desktop (HVD) is a full, thick-client user environment, which is run as a virtual machine (VM) on a server and accessed remotely. It provides a mechanism for centralizing a thick-client desktop PC without re-engineering each application for centralized execution, which appeals to enterprises on the basis of manageability and data security, especially in supporting new devices, such as tablets.
Consumerization: Consumerization is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector.
QR/color code: QR and color codes are high-density, two-dimensional bar codes that are readable by mobile phones and computer cameras with the correct software. Relatively advanced in Asia, the use of QR codes is poised to take off in North America once the tipping point — a sufficient number of enabled mobile phones balanced by marketing campaigns employing QR codes — is reached.
Quantum computing returns to the 2011 Hype Cycle after a break to show its long-term progress.
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