Research and innovation in big data in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year, analysis of data from GlobalData suggests.

The most recent figures show that the number of big data patent applications in the industry stood at 2,453 in the three months ending October – down from 3,864 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to big data followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 3,814 in the three months ending October last year to 2,118 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Big data is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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By GlobalData

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Alphabet Inc was the top big data innovator in the technology and communications sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 187 big data related patents in the three months ending October. That was down from 226 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the United States based International Business Machines Corp with 185 big data patent applications, China based Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd (179 applications), and the United States based Microsoft Corp (107 applications).

Texas Instruments Inc has recently ramped up R&D in big data. It saw growth of 61.5% in related patent applications in the three months ending October compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.