Looking for real value – most overhyped trends and buzzwords in IT
The IT industry, in its broad aspect is particularly prone to the phenomenon of overestimating the existing trends. Overhype is popular to a degree, that the subsequent trends change very rapidly. Still however, it is enough for some time to pass to verify, how much this or that innovation can offer business. Therefore, it is of such importance, for the experts in IT management to possess knowledge allowing to estimate what is actually worth their attention, and what is a bubble pumped up by sales departments.
Overhype is IT bread and butter
The turbulent fate of trending innovations can be examined on the example of the Internet of Things. Just a few years ago, c. 2015, it was a dominant belief, that we are dealing with a technology allowing to combine all devices of varying classes, in one diversified ecosystem communicating through associated protocols. It is worth highlighting, that the participation of a human in this communication was to be insignificant, and the Internet of Things was supposed to constitute the pathway to the automation of everyday activities.
How were these forecasts verified in time? Well, the Internet of Things is still present as a buzzword, however, it finds numerous practical applications. The thing is, these applications are far from the imaginations and forecasts from previous years. The Internet of Things found industrial applications, as a closed automated ecosystem of centrally managed (being in direct conflict with the forecasts) sensors, or as household automation, in which, however, the key role is played by the user who manages it.
The fate of the Internet of Things as the hype is still favourable. There are cases, when technology, that was pushed for months as something of great importance, simply vanished from the market, without receiving any interesting and practical applications. Enough to mention beacons – small radio sensors, that were to pass along environmental information to our smartphones, and, in fact, „personalise” our surroundings. Currently, no one thinks seriously of beacons, no matter how great a revolution they were supposed to be.
Most overhyped trends and buzzwords
No wonder, that in the face of this lack of knowledge and practices balancing on the verge of a deliberate misleading, decisions were made to examine the phenomenon of the currently most popular overhypes and industry buzzwords, that have no practical confirmation in business implementations. The Inap company took up the task, and they published results of a poll permed among IT experts, in a report titled „The Most Overhyped Tech Trends and Buzzwords of 2020”.
Among the participants, the most common (as 39% of participants share this opinion) is a belief that augmented reality is the most overhyped technology. On the other hand, more than a half of them consider this technology as worthy of attention. Why the discrepancy? The discrepancy comes primarily from the specifics of the implementations that had been presented to this day. While flashy and able to catch the attention of consumers, they have no serious implementations that result in reasonable benefits.
The examples can be multiplied easily. One of them is the implementation of AR in the latest iPad Pro. With the use of an infrared scanner, the device recognises the surroundings in three dimensions, mostly to entertain the users. We have still not seen a large scale business use of the Microsoft HoloLens goggles which, without a doubt, amaze with their capabilities, but amazement is all that we are left with. We are far from replacing peripheral devices with AR goggles, or – as Microsoft likes to claim – mixed reality goggles.
As much as 35% of the participants, present opinions, that one of the most overestimated innovations in 2020 is 5G communication. We are witnesses of how politics play a significant role in its development and promotion. Probably, for the first time in the history of telecommunication infrastructure, the swiftness of implementations is not decided solely ba market factors, but geopolitical ones. However, it is but one of the reasons, why the development of 5G and its benefits, should be examined with caution.
The most important change brought by 5G is the increase of the performance of the infrastructure and the speed of data transfers. However, it is worth directing attention to what content provides the largest load to the global internet infrastructure. Video portals, based on streaming, generate even 60% of traffic, with 34% of load being used by VOD portals, and 27% by pornography. Therefore, is the increase of bandwidth due to 5G, able to actually impact business, and be a factor that realistically impacts how the industry is developing?
Particularly among hardware producers, a trend has appeared, to promote subsequent novelties in terms of biometric authentication. Fingerprint scanners, face scanning infrared sensors, or behavioural biometrics, are currently universally used standards. However, even 1/3 of the participants asked by Inap believed that biometrics was to be one of the most overhyped tech trends of 2020. Again, this results not from the specifics of the innovation itself, but from the minor efficiency of the existing implementations.
Unfortunately, hardware and software producers have begun to apply biometrics as the only security measures. They replaced two existing components (login, which was public, and password, which was confidential) with only one public component. This way, the aforementioned producers contributed to the decrease in the security of millions of devices, while subsequent hacker conferences demonstrate, that none of the authentication mechanisms using own body, created to this day, can provide efficient security.
The combined analysis of the aforementioned examples allows to see a certain regularity – both AR, 5G or biometrics can amaze us. They are flashy, and to a degree, bring us closer to the Hollywood imaginations on utility electronics. The problem is, the wow effect rarely comes in pair with practical realisations that would be useful in business and, in fact, shape our reality. That which amazes in IT, is often a definite excess of form. An excess that is difficult to monetize.
The overhype and buzzword phenomenon in the IT industry has actually been there forever. Subsequent trends come and go. Moreover, it is so important to possess the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, when shaping the professional overview of the current state of technology – competency of grasp what is valuable for a company, and to discard that which makes an impression of something incredibly important, but in practice turns out to be nothing more than cheap show off, usually expensive to implement.