The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. Activity driven by the increasing demand for scalable and agile network infrastructure, the growing adoption of cloud-native applications, and the need for efficient network management in multi-tenant environments, as well as growing importance of technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN), network virtualisation, network function virtualisation (NFV), and orchestration tools. 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 Cloud: Network-on-a-chip. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 2.5 million patents to analyse innovation intensity for the technology industry, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, finite element simulation, deductive databases, and neural networks for data storage are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Multi-programming operating systems, AI assisted network management, and grid computing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are software-defined wide area network (WAN) and fog computing, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the technology industry

Network-on-a-chip is a key innovation area in cloud

Network-on-a-chip (NoC) is a method of integrated circuit design that employs interconnected processing nodes to enable effective communication among various cores and IP blocks present on the chip. This approach relies on a communication infrastructure comprising a routing algorithm, physical interconnects, and dedicated communication protocols.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of network-on-a-chip.

Key players in network-on-a-chip – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to network-on-a-chip

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Intel 231 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 69 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 61 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 60 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 52 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 37 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 33 Unlock Company Profile
Kalray 33 Unlock Company Profile
Marvell Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Arteris IP 19 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 13 Unlock Company Profile
Texas Instruments 13 Unlock Company Profile
Empire Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 12 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock Company Profile
Mythic 10 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 10 Unlock Company Profile
Friday Harbor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Tenstorrent 8 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 7 Unlock Company Profile
Scientia Sol Mentis 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cambricon Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
IP Reservoir 6 Unlock Company Profile
China Pacific Insurance 6 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 6 Unlock Company Profile
ZTE 6 Unlock Company Profile
Inventec 6 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 6 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 5 Unlock Company Profile
SK Square 5 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 5 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 231 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 69 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 61 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 60 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 52 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 37 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 33 Unlock Company Profile
Kalray 33 Unlock Company Profile
Marvell Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Arteris IP 19 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 13 Unlock Company Profile
Texas Instruments 13 Unlock Company Profile
Empire Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 12 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock Company Profile
Mythic 10 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 10 Unlock Company Profile
Friday Harbor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Tenstorrent 8 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 7 Unlock Company Profile
Scientia Sol Mentis 7 Unlock Company Profile
Cambricon Technologies 6 Unlock Company Profile
IP Reservoir 6 Unlock Company Profile
China Pacific Insurance 6 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 6 Unlock Company Profile
ZTE 6 Unlock Company Profile
Inventec 6 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 6 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 5 Unlock Company Profile
SK Square 5 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Intel is a leading patent filer in network-on-a-chip. The company’s patents are aimed at invention describing an integrated circuit device that may include programmable logic fabric disposed on a first integrated circuit die.

The first region of programmable logic fabric is configured to be programmed with a circuit design that operates on a first set of data.

The integrated circuit may also include network on chip (NOC) circuitry disposed on a second integrated circuit die, such that the NOC circuitry is configured to communicate data between the first integrated circuit die and the second integrated circuit die.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Huawei and Advanced Micro Devices.

By geographic reach, Marvell Technology leads the pack, followed by Cambricon Technologies and B Texas Instruments. In terms of application diversity, NEC holds the top position, followed by STMicroelectronics and Qualcomm.

The network-on-a-chip technology has revolutionised the way integrated circuits are designed and utilised. It enables efficient communication and resource sharing between cores and IP blocks on a chip, facilitating scalable and flexible computing. Further, cloud-based NoC innovations are aimed at optimising performance, enhancing system scalability, and enabling dynamic reconfiguration of resources.

To further understand how cloud is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing – 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.