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12 recent technologies that have yet to live up to their hype

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Nov. 5, 2013
How many times has 'the next big thing' in technology turned out to be the next big fail, either because tech companies couldn't explain the product or service or the marketing was premature? Here's a look at today's most overhyped technologies.

Sony Betamax ... the Apple Newton... push technology... Web TV... electric vehicles.... What do all these things have in common? They were all heavily promoted technologies that didn't live up to the hype surrounding them. And they are not alone.

Indeed, all too often, today's "next big thing" is tomorrow's overhyped tech trend that never took off or lived up to its potential.

So what recent technologies have (to date, at least) failed to live up to the hype surrounding their release? asked dozens of IT professionals, marketing experts and business owners and managers to find out. Here are their top 12 nominees for the most overhyped technology of the last few years.

1. Big Data. "Big data has been overhyped in two ways," says Betsy Bilhorn, vice president of Product Management at Scribe Software, a provider of data integration and data migration software. "First, by companies trying to 'live the dream' of stitching every piece of customer data together to create a 'holistic view,'" she says.

"This overabundance of data ultimately distracts -- companies need comprehensive, actionable customer data, but attempting to gain insight on every detail overshadows the important information," Bilhorn says.

"Second,"Bilhorn says, "big data' has been used to describe anything data related. Depending on whom you ask, Big Data can be the technical infrastructure (Hadoop), unstructured data/noSQL or combining data from more than two sources. Without a standard definition, Big Data doesn't mean anything. It's like calling everything 'cloud'."

"Even though much has been talked about big data, the level of adoption has yet to reach a critical mass so as to sustain the hype," adds Frank Palermo, senior vice president, Global Technical Solutions Group, Virtusa, a global IT services company.

"Customers understanding of what big data can do for them is still very hazy, and it will be sometime before the full impact of big data would settle in," Palermo says. Indeed, "according to Gartner, big data is in the 'peak of inflated expectations' zone, and organizations will only consider its adoption when the technology is on the verge of or in to the 'plateau of productivity' zone of a hype cycle," he says.

2. QR Codes. "Everyone talks about them, but most people still don't know what [QR codes] are. And those who do aren't scanning them," says ecommerce consultant Ron Rule. "QR codes are a great convenience factor if you're seeing an offer in print and want to buy it online. But when they were hyped as an alternative to coupons... they missed the mark," he says.

The problem with QR codes is that "not many consumers use them at the moment because most don't even know how to start," says Ian Aronovich, cofounder & CEO, "While many businesses are adopting QR codes into their advertising and marketing campaigns, it may not help as much as going the conventional and reliable routes like social media and traditional email marketing," he says.


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