The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the rising demand for high-quality immersive audio experiences in applications such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), gaming, and 360-degree video, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced microphone arrays, specialized software for encoding and decoding ambisonic audio, and compatible playback systems. 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 Innovation in technology: ambisonic audio encoding. 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, network-on-a-chip, in-memory computing, and aural exciters are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Electron beam lithography, OLED pixel compensation circuits, and PCI power management are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are capacitive touch panels and emergency communications network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Ambisonic audio encoding is a key innovation area in technology

Ambisonic audio encoding employs mathematical functions to capture and reproduce sound in three-dimensional space, enabling the creation of immersive auditory experiences that immerse the listener within the sound environment.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of ambisonic audio encoding.

Key players in ambisonic audio encoding – 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 ambisonic audio encoding

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
HTC 10 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 946 Unlock Company Profile
Sennheiser Electronic 10 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 44 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 449 Unlock Company Profile
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek 8 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 9 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 21 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke KPN 7 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 391 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 13 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 164 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 9 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 8 Unlock Company Profile
BARCO 7 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 25 Unlock Company Profile
THOMSON LICENSING 18 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing ByteDance Technology 15 Unlock Company Profile
Mimi Hearing Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Huddly 12 Unlock Company Profile
Gaudio Lab 40 Unlock Company Profile
ARKAMYS 14 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 6 Unlock Company Profile
III Holdings 1 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nomono 9 Unlock Company Profile
Syng 12 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in ambisonic audio encoding, Qualcomm is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at describing methods that involve indicating the potential reusability of frame parameters for decoding vectors. A device, equipped with a processor and memory, can execute these techniques. The processor's function includes retrieving a bitstream that contains a vector representing an orthogonal spatial axis within a spherical harmonics domain. Additionally, the bitstream contains an indication of whether to recycle, from a prior frame, at least one syntax element that signifies information utilized during the compression of the vector. The memory, on the other hand, is responsible for storing the bitstream. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Nokia and Sony.

In terms of application diversity, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone held the top position, while Beijing ByteDance Technology and Intel stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Magic Leap leads the pack, followed by Huddly and Syng. 

Ambisonic audio encoding enables the capture and reproduction of sound in a three-dimensional space, creating an immersive auditory experience. The technology is particularly crucial in applications such as VR, AR, gaming, and 360-degree video, where realistic and spatially accurate audio enhances the overall immersion and user experience. Ambisonic encoding plays a pivotal role in delivering lifelike audio environments, making it an indispensable tool for modern audio production and entertainment.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology

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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.