Past its peak? Texting as a productivity tool

gartner chart

There’s a lot to keep track of in the business world, and new technologies are released every day – some that will benefit your business, some not so much. When it comes to emerging technologies, it’s nice to have someone knowledgeable, a seasoned resource – to test out new tech. Gartner offers businesses a framework to decide if and when to implement a new technology.

The Gartner Hype Cycle is a representation of the excitement and adoption of a new technology. It actually flows in a somewhat predictable way. Below is a typical Hype Cycle:

gartner graph showing hype cycle, visibility vs maturity

The five phases of a technology’s life cycle are:

  • Technology Trigger: A potential technology breakthrough kicks things off. Early proof-of-concept stories and media interest trigger significant publicity. Often no usable products exist and commercial viability is unproven.
  • Peak of Inflated Expectations: Early publicity produces a number of success stories — often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not.
  • Trough of Disillusionment: Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver. Producers of the technology shake out or fail. Investments continue only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters.
  • Slope of Enlightenment: More instances of how the technology can benefit the enterprise start to crystallize and become more widely understood. Second- and third-generation products appear from technology providers. More enterprises fund pilots; conservative companies remain cautious.
  • Plateau of Productivity: Mainstream adoption starts to take off. Criteria for assessing provider viability are more clearly defined. The technology’s broad market applicability and relevance are clearly paying off.

Turns out all successful technology brainchildren go through this process – from electricity to self-driving cars. Of course, the data can only be looked at retroactively – you still can’t exactly predict when a technology will advance in the cycle (or it could drop out completely and never reach the plateau).

People tend to get really excited about emerging technology when it is released. Remember when we thought the internet was going to change the world? Well, it’s hardly the free-market democratic utopia we dreamed of (you don’t have to look much further than your news feed during the election to see that). As much as the internet connects people, it can also be incredibly divisive. In a sense, the internet has plateaued. So it goes with emerging technologies – expectations are set high, then there’s disappointment, followed by a realistic reevaluation of how the technology can be used every day.

But I digress. What’s critical is that you understand texting’s location in the GHC. If we were to map texting on the cycle, it would look like this:

gartner graph showing hype cycle, visibility vs maturity extended to show texting

Texting, as a medium, is far out on the plateau of productivity. Virtually every mobile phone is able to natively send and receive SMS messages. 52% of US consumers would prefer texting customer support over their current preferred form of communication.

Texting was a consumer product by the early 2000’s, and a business tool by the mid 2000’s, so it’s no surprise that in 2017 texting is way out there on the plateau of technologies. That doesn’t mean it’s going away – in fact, being on the plateau is a sure sign that a technology has “made it” into the mainstream. Lets look at how some familiar technologies progressed through the years 1995-2000:

4 gartner hype graphs, visibility vs maturity in VOIP and 4g

In 1995 VOIP was in the Enlightenment stage and by 2000 it had moved to the Plateau. In the early 2000’s 4G was in the Trigger stage and by 2005 it was Peaking (notice that VOIP had moved off the grid). Last year, in 2016, self-driving vehicles and VR were in the peak and slope, respectively.

As a texting company, we have clear motivations for getting our product to the Plateau of Productivity. We believe texting is a powerful tool that belongs in every business, and Gartner Research Director Charles Golvin agrees:

“SMS [texting] remains an effective, yet underutilized, mobile tactic among marketing leaders.”

Texting isn’t going anywhere soon, especially for businesses. Zipwhip gives you a kick-a**, easy-to-use web app to handle all your business texting needs. Plus, you get to keep your existing phone number. Your customers want to text you – Let them!

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