Technology effectively needs two components to survive in an industry—investment of time and money and also market adaption. There’s no secret that technology has been slow to grow successfully in the golf space, but recently there has been an uptick in products successfully fitting and adding value to the operations of Superintendents, for example.
The Gartner Hype Cycle
The purpose of the Gartner Hype Cycle is meant to understand the general human behavior to new innovations and technologies when they become real and applicable in a market. When innovations are promoted, there is usually a “hype” around the potential of what that technology can do, and more importantly, what it means for the future of an industry and the people working in it. The Gartner Hype Cycle can also be used as a tool to help individuals: 1.) understand they’re industry and how it reacts to new technologies as a whole and; 2.) inform people about their individual appetite for risk in relation to the promise of an emerging technology within their industry.
Interpreting Technology Hype
As described by Gartner, the Hype Cycle Methodology illustrates peoples’ abilities to know their risk appetite. For example, are you someone who feels strongly about making early moves? Is a moderate approach appropriate? Or, should you wait for further maturation? All of these decisions are based on the value of the technology today, what you think is possible in the future, how much of that future can you can influence, and how much money you’re willing to spend today to make that happen.
The two facets that determine value in this model are expectations and time. According to Gartner, the 5 touch points or human realizations are defined as the following:
- Innovation 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 act; 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. (gartner.com)
While the Hype Cycle does a brilliant job illustrating the general journey of new technologies in an industry, it is my take that it does not accurately represent the Golf Industry and the operators who work in it. Below is an illustration of the golf’s reaction to new innovations. I will explain why we posit this illustration as being a better representation than the general Hype Cycle illustration.
Technology in Golf
The Golf Industry as a whole is not volatile. It is far more conservative than most industries and the blue-collar nature of its operations, like maintenance, adds a level of healthy skepticism to new technologies that are introduced. Operators like Superintendents really need to feel and experience newer technologies before they are “sold” on its application on their courses.
How Retro-Fitted Technologies are Finding Their Way in Golf
Circling back to the original concept of ‘why technologies survive in an industry’, retro-fitted technologies are seeing more outside investments and they are beginning to make a real impact on the daily lives of the people in the market.
Speaking directly for the case of FAIRWAYiQ – in short, FAIRWAYiQ founder Dave Vanslette was able to take his experience of creating and connecting digital landscapes in other industries, like sports stadiums, and down-size it for Golf. He was also able to attract outside investors and industry leaders like Toro to see a vision of creating a connected digital landscape for Superintendents. Overtime, this led to FAIRWAYiQ’s partnership with taskTracker where the real-time data collected by FAIRWAYiQ is linked directly to taskTracker’s digital job board.
In relation to the Gartner Hype Cycle, much of the technology innovation in FAIRWAYiQ can be found in industries like Agriculture, thus creating a ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’. Fast forward 4 years, integrations with taskTracker and interest from major equipment providers like Toro and John Deere are proving that technologies like FAIRWAYiQ and others are moving past the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ and are on the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’. This is in large part due to the adoption of FAIRWAYiQ in the industry and the value it delivers for Superintendents.
For more information on the EliteiQ integration between FAIRWAYiQ and taskTracker, click here: gci.fairwayiq.com