The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing demand for artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions, coupled with advancements in hardware that enable more powerful and energy-efficient inference engines, and growing importance of technologies such as hardware accelerators, optimized software frameworks, and model compression techniques. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in technology: deep learning inference engines. 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 stabilizing 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.

190+ 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 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, deep reinforcement learning, finite element simulation, and GenAI for design are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. AI in EHR, intelligent predictive maintenance, and forward inferencing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the technology industry

Deep learning inference engines is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Deep learning inference engines are specialized systems or algorithms crafted to execute inference operations with deep learning models. Inference, in this context, pertains to the act of making forecasts or determinations by applying a trained deep learning model to input data. These engines facilitate swift and effective deployment of deep learning models for functions such as image identification, natural language processing, and pattern recognition.

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 810+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of deep learning inference engines.

Key players in deep learning inference engines – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to deep learning inference engines

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fujifilm 60 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 116 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 122 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 364 Unlock Company Profile
KLA 70 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 124 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 53 Unlock Company Profile
Salesforce 97 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 84 Unlock Company Profile
SAP 105 Unlock Company Profile
Bank of America 66 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 202 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 75 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 157 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 81 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 71 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 53 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 107 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 273 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 97 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 119 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 112 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 1132 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 93 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 172 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 259 Unlock Company Profile
Digital Global Systems 62 Unlock Company Profile
Cortica 54 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in AI in deep learning inference engines, IBM is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at overseeing and engaging with a conversational agent within an internet of things (IoT) framework by a processor. From a sensor list comprising one or more IoT sensors, the knowledge graph is formed, and subsequently, one or more graph patterns are derived. The sensor list and graph patterns are used to learn one or more conversation patterns and dialogs. The conversational agent is then automatically equipped with the acquired graph patterns, conversation patterns, conversation dialogs, as well as sensor data and analytics from the IoT sensors. This is done in response to one or more queries, enabling the agent to engage in a conversation with a user. The other prominent patent filers in the space include Sony and Intel.

In terms of application diversity, Stryker leads the pack, while Meta Platforms and Cortica stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Cortica held the top position, followed by Stryker and Digital Global Systems.

AI in deep learning inference engines have the ability to process complex neural networks efficiently, making them instrumental in real-time applications. These engines excel at rapidly making accurate predictions or decisions based on input data, which is crucial in fields such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare, and other industries where timely responses are vital.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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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.