Solutions that can help companies become more digitally-focused have emerged as the key theme in market research firm Gartner's latest 'hype cycle' analysis, with innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced analytics with self-service functionality topping the chart.

The company's 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies revealed that these developments, along with solutions such as machine learning, autonomous vehicles and speech-to-speech translation services, were at the highest point on the cycle.

Gartner's model splits the development of technologies into five key stages – the 'innovation trigger', the 'peak inflated of expectations', the 'trough of disillusionment', the 'slope of enlightenment and the 'plateau of productivity', reached once an innovation has fully matured and been integrated into mainstream businesses.

Autonomous vehicles and IoT are not expected to reach this plateau for another five to ten years, but the other technologies currently at the peak of the cycle are set to achieve this within two to five years.

Betsy Burton, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, commented: "As enterprises continue the journey to becoming digital businesses, identifying and employing the right technologies at the right time will be critical."

Gartner also set out six progressive business models that companies can identify and aspire to in the future. When it comes to developing emerging technologies, it is the latter three of these stages that are of greatest interest – digital marketing, digital business and autonomous business.

All of these will rely heavily on data in order to help facilitate decision-making, so having effective data analytics tools for turning this raw information into useful insight will be essential if enterprises wish to be successful in the digital era.

The ultimate goal for many companies will be to reach the final, autonomous stage, which Gartner defined as an ability to leverage technologies that can provide human-like or human-replacing capabilities.

"Using autonomous vehicles to move people or products and using cognitive systems to recommend a potential structure for an answer to an email, write texts or answer customer questions are all examples that mark the autonomous stage," it noted.