Blinded by the hype?

Blinded by the hype?

March 5, 2024
Time to read: 8 minutes
Kongsberg Digital

Looking at the hype cycle for AI, we can see that technologies rise and fall, come and go, maybe stay. Just over the last ten years, we’ve seen different technologies ride the hype rollercoaster – do you remember any of them?

Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, 5G technology, and edge computing were some big ones that overpromised with some arguably underwhelming outcomes. Many of these face challenges related to scalability, regulatory issues, security concerns and infrastructure challenges. This begs the question - is there a secret recipe for success, or is it all up to luck? How can you find the connections between rising technologies and figure out how they might affect your business? Why do some fail while others succeed?

Most importantly – how can you best navigate the ups and downs along the journey towards the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ and extract enough learnings and insights to derive real value?

Learn more about Kongsberg Digital’s 'Less Pain More Profit’ approach to the hype cycle and discover tips for each stage to help you navigate the curve.

Image source: What’s New in Artificial Intelligence From the 2023 Gartner Hype Cycle™

Making the most out of hype cycles

Have a look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence. The Gartner Hype Cycle is an annual report that visualises the journey of emerging technologies from their inception to mainstream adoption, reflecting the current perceived maturity and market readiness of technologies and approaches.

Now spot the shiny ultimate destination lurking at the end, the Plateau of Productivity. It’s the place we all want to be. See the Trough of Disillusionment? That’s where you never want to be.

But what does this all mean for your business – and how can you make the most out of riding hype cycles like this one?

Understanding the hype cycle

The cycle is a bit like a rollercoaster, one composed of technological trends and innovations. The climb is steep and exhilarating. The fall is drastic and mostly terrifying. The end brings you to a point of reflection, iteration and finally, acceptance.

Learn more about the Gartner hype cycle here: Gartner Hype Cycle Research Methodology | Gartner

In essence, the curve is a dynamic representation of the ebb and flow of market perceptions, but it’s also influenced by opinions from people like you and companies like us who buy into the hype, crying wolf every time an oh-so-tempting new technology emerges.

Even as a vendor with extensive domain and technical expertise, we fall into this trap. After all, it’s called a hype cycle for a reason! The trick is to reflect – like we’re doing here – and understand how a well-planned, strategic approach to new technologies can help you find the most value while avoiding the loss of revenue and resources on projects that might not succeed.

We want to help you plateau, not land in the trough

For us at Kongsberg Digital, the hype cycle curve is considered in everything we develop. We want our customers to reach the Plateau of Productivity and we want it as fast as possible, although some things need time to mature - especially if the Trough of Disillusionment is to be avoided.

Here’s our perspective on the hype cycle and how it influences business processes.

Innovation Trigger (First Quadrant):

New ideas and innovations could come from anywhere in the organisation and often spring up in the most unexpected places. Like most companies, we capitalise on hype opportunities – most recently, AI and Generative AI – to see how new technologies can add value to our products and services.

At Kongsberg Digital, we serve the energy and maritime industries with solutions to help them operate safer and more efficiently. When considering innovation triggers, we find that knowing how our customers operate gives us the upper edge in understanding and qualifying new technologies.

Peak of Inflated Expectations (Second Quadrant):

In our experience as a first-in-class technology provider for the energy industry, technologies in the first two quadrants often inspire companies to rethink whether they should build in-house or buy an out-of-the-box solution. Expectations are soaring and the buzz of excitement around newcomer technologies makes it seem as if anything is possible.

But while building in-house is tempting, we believe new technologies should be created by experts – companies who are tech experts but also possess the necessary domain and industry expertise to ensure that the new technology is best suited for the industry wherein your business operates.

A truly agnostic software company with expertise in all things digital can help keep new technologies within the scope of reality for your business needs in terms of scalability, reliability, and long-term value proposition.

An example close to home

Our growth team recently worked with a customer to set up a new pilot project. Our customers know that from sales to development, we are well-equipped to help them manage the typical pitfalls of both new technologies and pilot projects in general. That’s because we know how to deal with resistance to change when current ways of working are completely renewed. We understand the traditional systems energy companies work with and recognise the constraints of scalability in energy and maritime. We know it’s a journey, not an overnight jump, and we are in it for the long haul.

We are technology experts, but also domain experts. It’s our job to balance the act of giving industries the functionalities they want while encouraging them to adopt new technologies that will accelerate their journey towards successful operations and solve their everyday pain points. Like our customer said: ‘With your deep-rooted experience in the industry, we know that your solutions will solve our specific challenges’.

Trough of Disillusionment (Third Quadrant):

Sometimes, the hype is just that – hype. From what we’ve seen across the energy industry, unsuccessful pilots (for various reasons) and a lack of scalability are often factors that contribute to the swift fall from grace that lands companies in the dreaded trough. At Kongsberg Digital, we work hard to avoid the trough altogether. It’s not a great place to be – and once you land there, it’s hard to clamber back out.

We often see that companies are tempted to revisit the idea of building in-house if the failed project was an out-of-the-box solution. Remember that the trough comes with challenges of its own that could stand as blockers to re-starting with an in-house solution.

3 ways we help customers avoid the trough

  1. Implement mitigation measures to avoid common obstacles in technology development and adoption. These measures include building out the business case from the start, engaging the right stakeholders, and analysing the cultural and employee impact of our technologies from the start.
  2. Work alongside customers and partners to build lasting relationships that create a foundation of trust and mutual understanding. This way, we foster a shared commitment to success throughout the energy transition and inspire continuous innovation at an industry level.
  3. Develop and deploy sustainable long-term solutions that deliver value on every level, right down to the end user. When implementing a system of work that spans across the organisation, we work with you to map out a change management strategy that accelerates the pace of adoption and engagement with our solutions.

Slope of Enlightenment (Fourth Quadrant)

In today’s fast-paced world, we understand the importance of speeding up the slope. When emerging from the trough, interest in the technology is cautiously renewed. Customers need extra reassurance that the new technology will change the way they work for the better – and they aren’t going to wait around forever.

This is where our company fast-tracks product development to make sure that 1. Customers see the value of new technologies immediately and 2. Technologies that deserve the hype are integrated into our existing solutions to make sure that users have the latest and greatest available to them. The aim is to continue producing applications that customers both need and want to use, at a scalable speed.

Plateau of Productivity (Fifth Quadrant):

Many of our customers are already operating in this quadrant and find that as our technology solutions mature and adoption spreads, it’s hard to imagine going back to life without them.
Here are some examples of customers that are enjoying the plateau of productivity with our Industrial Work Surface:

5 tips to help you make the most out of hype cycles

Here are some tips on how you can approach new technologies along the hype curve.

  1. Innovation Trigger: Don’t fall for a single technology, and don’t fall for every technology. Prioritise innovation that’s driven by business outcomes, not tools.
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations: Understand the fine print of new technologies and engage your IT team from the get-go. Set rules in place for company-wide usage of hyped technologies. This will avoid situations like employees leaking sensitive information to chatbots.
  3. Trough of Disillusionment: AI – or whatever new technology you’re trying out - is not a magic fix. Maybe you have the right solution, but the wrong processes. Maybe you have the wrong solution. Don’t be afraid to prioritise system replacement if that’s what needs to be done. Picking the best-in-business partner for your technology adventure could help you avoid this step altogether.
  4. Slope of Enlightenment: Analyse the impact of new technologies. Involve representatives from across the organisation for decision-making and sign-off so that you can head towards the plateau of productivity.
  5. Plateau of Productivity: Stay realistic. Once a technology is widely adopted and part of everyday workflows and processes, you still need to devote time to testing. Implement change management to ensure correct adoption so that utility can be scaled across the organisation.

Just like yours, our company continues to test new technologies as the hype around Artificial Intelligence continues. But when it comes to digital twins, we’re the experts. Want to learn more about digital twin technology?

About the author

Blinded by the hype?

Kongsberg Digital

Sign up to our latest news and updates

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2024 Kongsberg Digital