Where Does VR 360 Video Stand Today? Gartner’s Hype Model Knows the Answer.

VR 360 Video - Hype Cycle and Classification
Learning from the mistakes of others: VR 360 Video | © Pixabay

Predictions are always easy when they concern the past. The future is a different story. This is especially true for the trendy topic of VR 360 video.

A year ago it was still the ultimate trend and bringer of salvation, but it is becoming increasingly quiet around this new technology. Where is virtual reality today and where is it headed? This article does not venture again a new and further forecast. Instead, he uses the example of 360 videos to show how innovations in film and video can be assessed and evaluated.

You need to know

  • At the moment, it is difficult to judge whether the trend towards VR 360 video will catch on. Depending on how you look at it, there are good reasons for and against.
  • The application of the so-called hype cycle offers assistance in determining the current situation. This assumes that every innovation is subject to five different phases.
  • The Hype Cicle distinguishes five phases for a new technology: Rumours about products with unimagined technical possibilities, market launch and hype, disappointment, clarification and adaptation of the technology for useful applications.
  • With that, it’s fair to say: VR 360 videos is heading into the valley of disappointment (the third phase of the hype cycle) – and thus on the mend and anything but dead.

Where is VR 360 Video headed?

Some of the biggest companies in the world today are grappling with where VR 360 video is headed. Unless you think smart people don’t want to work for corporations, they should also be some of the smartest people on the planet looking at what the future holds for VR and AR.

Virtual reality celebrates its 50th birthday next year. Not quite so old is the model that is often used to look at forecasts and trends more precisely. It was invented by an American research institute. Gartner Inc. is based in Stamford, USA and specializes in market research and analysis of developments in IT.

In 1995, with the guidance of analyst Jackie Fenn, the company developed a stage model that maps the path of an innovation on its way to becoming commonplace. The basis was the observation that the fuss about new technological solutions is always the same. At that time, it was about the valuation of Microsoft and software. However, it can be used to evaluate VR 360 video just as well.

Gartner’s model is now known as the hype cycle. It distinguishes five phases.

Hype model from Gartner: 5 phases of VR 360 Video

While the Kondratjev cycle describes the cyclical development of the economy as a model, the hype cycle locates the development on two axes within a cycle. These axes show the level of attention on the one hand and the passage of time on the other. In other words, the model shows how high the attention is over a certain period of time.

The hype cycle has five phases:

  1. Innovation Trigger
  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations
  3. Valley of Disillusionment (Through of Disillusionment)
  4. Path of Enlightenment (Slope of Enlightenment)
  5. Plateau of Productivity

Ironically, the inventor of the hype cycle, Jackie Fenn, was able to use her analysis model to predict the 1999 stock market crash to within six months. Conversely, however, four years earlier it predicted the ultimate demise of the Internet as an information superhighway.

The most famous example in recent history that can be studied illustratively with this model is the Internet. At first grossly underestimated, then just as grossly overestimated until the first dot-com bubble, only to take root as a revolution in our world probably forever.

1Tech Triggers at VR 360 Videos

At the beginning of the first phase of the hype cycle is a technological trigger. First there are rumors, usually purposefully scattered. Then the first events and a technology that promises to change our world and therefore excites users as well as investors. Technological innovation is like a stone thrown into a calm lake. The first waves capture the knowledgeable professional audience. But soon the enthusiasm of the professionals spills over to the semi-professional users and amateurs, i.e. the very large public.

The end of the first stage of the introduction of a new innovation like VR 360 video can be seen in the fact that more and more free riders are entering the scene and want to get a piece of the pie. This drives the hype to dizzying heights.

2The peak of exaggerated expectation

In the second phase, the new technology has long since become an insider tip that everyone knows – and is therefore no longer an insider tip. Vendor marketing departments are gushing with excitement at this stage of the hype cycle with the press, while engineers are still pulling their hair out, not knowing how to rid the innovation of pesky teething problems. The management insists on launching the products in the market to benefit from the hype.

The unrealistic expectations of VR 360 video collide with reality and initiate the subsequent third phase.

3VR 360 videos: the valley of disappointment

With loud cries of outrage, the end of technology is predicted and heralded. The new products do not meet the expectations, or only partially, or cannot meet them at all due to unrealistic expectation management. Once again, many a technophile Harry Potter wannabe is frustrated to discover that magic only exists at Hogwarts after all.

While the public is quiet about VR 360 video as a new innovation, behind the scenes the technology’s weakened inventors are being acquired by other corporations. They have observed the development, understand the technology and they are willing to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. This marks the beginning of the fourth phase.

4The Path of Enlightenment

Many products have not made the breakthrough in the market and have disappeared. The press is no longer interested in the new technology. The new players, however, are working diligently behind the scenes to further develop the innovation. Their new products focus on areas of application where they can play to their strengths. This is phase 4 of the hype cycle. The limits of the new technology are respected. Characteristics of this development phase are 2.0, 3.0 versions.

The innovations that now work are coupled in a targeted manner with the needs of specific markets and users in the form of new products. VR 360 video adoption is on the rise again. The first sales successes are achieved. Investors and stock markets are starting to dream cautiously again. But many of them are waiting for the fifth and final phase.

5The plateau of productivity

It is only in the fifth step that it is decided whether the new technology will become established on the mass market, because appropriate forms of application can be found. But even if the innovations only represent a crucial innovation for a niche market, they have thus found their permanent place and a raison d’être in the brave new digital world. This is because they will soon become indispensable there as well.

The plateau of productivity can be recognized by the fact that the product is no longer talked about or discussed. Because it caught on. It is taken for granted, bought and used without much fuss.

Hype model: where is 360 video and VR storytelling headed?

In June 2014, Facebook made the founder of Oculus VR two billion richer. The purchase price for Oculus reflected the peak of inflated expectations for VR 360 video. Only a few voices spoke critically of a huge bet on the future. Facebook itself had already conveniently mentally skipped the valley of disappointment when it acquired Oculus. When it bought Oculus, the group blithely announced what other areas of application its group planned to expand virtual reality to.

While Zuckerberg and Zalando were still screaming with joy, criticism of the technology was mounting. In 2016, Facebook closed the doors of its own VR animation studio for VR 360 video and reduced the points of sale for its VR goggles.

There are many reasons why the increasing silence for VR 360 video is a good sign. Behind the scenes, companies like Google are tinkering with the future and VR films for smartphones with channels like Daydream District or Spotlight Stories: Initial successes with 360 animation, such as the Oscar nomination for the VR short film Pearl, show what the future holds for moving images in virtual reality.

Nor, another clear indicator, is the broad press on the way to the valley of disappointment. Press houses have invested in VR technology in the hype and are finding that this cannot compensate for the loss of advertisements.

So where does VR 360 video stand? If you believe the hype cycle, in a salutary phase. The best is yet to come.

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

Kristian Widmer
About Kristian Widmer 21 Articles
Kristian Widmer is a member of the Swiss Film Academy. The holder of a master in law and an MBA from the University of St. Gallen HSG was for many years CEO of Condor Films AG, founded in 1947 and winner of an Academy Award™.

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