The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rapid emergence and widespread adoption of game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), advancements in AI hardware and software optimisation techniques for rapid decision-making in time-sensitive applications, and growing importance of technologies such as rule-based systems, knowledge systems, and inference engines. Forward inferencing can use stream processing technologies to handle real-time data streams and enable continuous processing and analysis. 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: forward inferencingBuy 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, GenAI for design, finite element simulation and deep reinforcement learning are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. 3D model simulation, drone controls AI, and circuit designing AI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the technology industry

Forward inferencing is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Forward inferencing, also referred to as deductive reasoning or forward chaining, is a type of reasoning process used in artificial intelligence (AI) technique wherein logical deductions are made from a given set of facts or rules in order to reach a conclusion. This approach entails the utilisation of logical rules and constraints on a set of known facts, subsequently inferring new facts based on the existing ones.

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 480+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of forward inferencing.

Key players in forward inferencing – 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 forward inferencing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Qualcomm 44 Unlock Company Profile
Thales 38 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 295 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 85 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 98 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 110 Unlock Company Profile
Salesforce 68 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 116 Unlock Company Profile
SAP 50 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 51 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 83 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 43 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 39 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 83 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 93 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 909 Unlock Company Profile
Illumina 54 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 44 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 226 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 179 Unlock Company Profile
Enlitic 90 Unlock Company Profile
Sense Labs 43 Unlock Company Profile
Tractable 58 Unlock Company Profile
Stradvision 72 Unlock Company Profile
UMNAI 44 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

IBM is the leading patent filer in forward inferencing. The company’s patents are aimed at invention describing mechanisms for detecting interesting decision rules from a set of decision rules in a tree ensemble.

Each tree in the tree ensemble is traversed in order to assign each individual data record from a set of data records to an identified leaf node in each tree. Predicted values are determined for the tree ensemble based on predictions provided by each leaf node to which each individual data record is assigned. Interesting sub-indices for decision rules from the set of decision rules are determined and, for each decision rule corresponding to the leaf nodes in the tree ensemble, the sub-indices are combined into interestingness index.

The decision rules are ranked corresponding to the leaf nodes in the tree ensemble according to the associated value of the interestingness index and a subset of the decision rules corresponding to the leaf nodes in the tree ensemble are reported.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Microsoft, NEC, Intel, and Hitachi.

By geographic reach, Enlitic leads the pack, followed by Sense Labs and Tractable. In terms of application diversity, Enlitic holds the top position, followed by Illumina and Tractable.

Forward inferencing enables logical deductions and conclusions to be drawn from known facts, aiding in problem-solving and decision-making processes. Its application in AI systems enhances efficiency and accuracy by inferring new information from existing knowledge.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is 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.