The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the rapid emergence and widespread adoption of game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the advancements in natural language processing and machine learning technologies, enabling more sophisticated and accurate conversational interactions between humans and machines, improved customer engagement and efficient automation and scalability in customer services. Conversational AI may also use dialog management and knowledge graphs to control the flow of conversation and organise and represent structured information.  In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Artificial Intelligence: Conversational AI. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, finite element simulation, ML-enabled blockchain networks and generative adverserial network (GAN) are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Demand forecasting applications, intelligent embedded systems, and deep reinforcement learning are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wearable physiological monitors and smart lighting, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the technology industry

Conversational AI is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Conversational AI refers to an AI system crafted to replicate human-like conversation, utilised for automated customer services, assisting in task fulfilment, and delivering information or recommendations to individuals.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 340+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of conversational AI.

Key players in conversational AI – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to conversational AI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alphabet 2191 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 1947 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 986 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 939 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 753 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 684 Unlock Company Profile
LG 546 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 458 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 449 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 296 Unlock Company Profile
Legend 233 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 228 Unlock Company Profile
Xperi 212 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 209 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 206 Unlock Company Profile
Sonos 197 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 194 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 188 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 181 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 177 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 156 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 140 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 136 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 136 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 132 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 131 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 118 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 109 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 100 Unlock Company Profile
SoundHound AI 89 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 87 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 82 Unlock Company Profile
Midea 81 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 80 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 79 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 75 Unlock Company Profile
Ping An Insurance 74 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 72 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 71 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 67 Unlock Company Profile
Spotify Technology 67 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 64 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 64 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 63 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 62 Unlock Company Profile
Flexiworld Technologies 61 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 58 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 58 Unlock Company Profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 56 Unlock Company Profile
West View Research 56 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alphabet is a leading patent filer in the conversational AI space. The company’s patents are aimed at inventing methods, systems, and apparatus, with computer programmes encoded on computer storage media for learning pronunciations from acoustic sequences. One method includes receiving an acoustic sequence, the acoustic sequence representing an utterance, and the acoustic sequence comprising a sequence of multiple frames of acoustic data at each of a plurality of time steps; stacking one or more frames of acoustic data to generate a sequence of modified frames of acoustic data.

The company also filed patents related to processing the sequence of modified frames of acoustic data through an acoustic modelling neural network comprising one or more recurrent neural network (RNN) layers and a final CTC output layer to generate a neural network output. Processing the sequence of modified frames of acoustic data involves subsampling modified frames of acoustic data and processing each subsampled modified frame of acoustic data through the acoustic modelling neural network. The other prominent patent filers in the space include Samsung Group and Apple.

By geographic reach, Saalex Information Technology leads the pack, followed by Valeo Comfort & Driving Assistance and Personics. In terms of application diversity, Walmart holds the top position, followed by Kip Prod P1 and Prodea Systems.

Conversational AI plays a significant role in revolutionising customer engagement by delivering personalised and efficient interactions, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, it empowers businesses to automate tasks, improve operational efficiency, and gain valuable insights from customer interactions, driving overall growth and success.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Thematic Intelligence.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.