The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by rapid emergence and widespread adoption of game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and mobility, as well as growing importance of technologies such as microphone arrays, encoding and decoding algorithms, and higher order ambisonics, sound field synthesis. These technologies work together to create immersive and realistic spatial audio experiences in various applications, including music production, film soundtracks, gaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality. 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 Technology Innovation: Ambisonics. 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, microphone beamforming, live betting games, and quantum dots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Circuit design testing, smart contracts, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, vehicle platooning, PCI power management and wireless microphones, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Ambisonics is a key innovation area in technology

Ambisonics is a sound recording and reproduction system that enables a three-dimensional auditory experience. It employs the spherical sound recording method to capture a complete 360-degree sound field, delivering a natural and immersive sound perception from all directions. This system finds applications in audio production, live performances, and even home entertainment setups.

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

Key players in ambisonics – 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 ambisonics

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Dolby Laboratories 1276 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 801 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV 354 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 231 Unlock Company Profile
THOMSON LICENSING 195 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 112 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 104 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 100 Unlock Company Profile
Xperi 58 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 37 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 37 Unlock Company Profile
Gaudio Lab 31 Unlock Company Profile
Orange 27 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 25 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 16 Unlock Company Profile
LG 16 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 15 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 13 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 13 Unlock Company Profile
ARKAMYS 13 Unlock Company Profile
Thomson Licensing 12 Unlock Company Profile
Huddly 11 Unlock Company Profile
HTC 10 Unlock Company Profile
Mimi Hearing Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke KPN 8 Unlock Company Profile
III Holdings 1 8 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sennheiser Electronic 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek 7 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 7 Unlock Company Profile
BARCO 7 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 6 Unlock Company Profile
Syng 6 Unlock Company Profile
Nomono 6 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 6 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defense 6 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 5 Unlock Company Profile
Bang & Olufsen 5 Unlock Company Profile
Orange 5 Unlock Company Profile
BCom 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Dolby Laboratories is one of the leading patents filers in ambisonics. The company’s patents are aimed at invention related to a data structure for higher order ambisonics (HOA) audio data, which includes 2D/3D spatial audio data for one or more different HOA audio data stream descriptions. The HOA audio data can include single audio signal source data and/or microphone array audio data from fixed or time-varying spatial positions.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Qualcomm and Nokia

In terms of geographical reach, Dolby Laboratories leads the pack, followed by Nokia and Huawei Investment & Holding. In terms of application diversity, Apple holds the top position, followed by Samsung and Intel

The significance of ambisonics lies in its ability to provide immersive soundscapes, spatial accuracy, versatile applications, future-proof format, creative freedom, realistic sound capture, enhanced listener engagement, and its potential for future innovation. It enriches the audio experience by delivering a heightened sense of realism and immersion, making it a valuable technology in various industries and applications.  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.