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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.

3. 3D Printing. "If you listen to the claims of the various manufacturers, it sounds like [3D printers] are a useful tool for just about anything that you might need," says JR Rodrigues, CEO, NetCablesPlus. "The reality that I hear from users, however, revolves around jammed nozzles, uneven printing due to the printing bed, software glitches and... [how long it] takes to get from concept to finished product, including the brutally slow generation of the data files.

"We've seen a lot of news about how 3D printing will change the world -- and maybe it will," says Todd Emerson, CEO, Kikata, a solutions integrator. "Schools and companies are asking for 3D printers and consumer models of 3D printers are starting to hit the market. But the tools to actually build 3D models are still relatively complex," he says. "The result is that these 3D printers are already collecting dust. There are possibilities that other overhyped tech like Leap could unlock 3D rendering to allow even the youngest and least technical users to create 3D models, but we haven't seen this happen yet."

4. Gamification. "Gamification is really overdone right now," says Alex Genadinik, founder, Problemio mobile business apps. "It rarely adds a lot of value to a product, and it often makes the usability a little slower."

5. Fingerprint Identification. "A fingerprint scanner still won't prevent your iPhone from being stolen," says Matthew Standart, director of threat intelligence at HBGary, a cybersecurity firm. "It may deter a thief to some degree -- but how many thieves are actually going to stop to check the authentication mechanism prior to or during their heist?" he asks. "A thief with the device could still access the data if it is being stored without encryption."

6. Siri. "Walking down the street, do you ever see anyone using Siri? Is it faster than manual entry? What percentage of what you ask her to do does she really understand?" asks Kerry Lebel, senior director of Product Management and Marketing, Automic, which provides a comprehensive platform for automating businesses.

"Siri gets confused on business names with more than one word, gets stuck waiting for better reception and most of the time replies with 'I'm sorry, I don't understand,'" he says. While people were at first impressed with the novelty and "cool factor" of Siri, he continues, that quickly wore off as they became frustrated -- and went back to entering data manually, which yielded faster, better results.

7. Near Field Communication (NFC). "It was widely predicted that near field communication (NFC) would revolutionize the way we pay for things and communicate with one another seemingly overnight," says Ryan Phelan, director of technology, Phenomblue, a brand experience agency. "While there are now quite a few NFC-enabled devices out there, we have yet to see much adoption," he says. (Though he notes that NFC may still deliver on its promise.)


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