The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the growth of the market for cloud-enabled virtual machines, including the increasing demand for scalability, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility in IT infrastructure, thereby growing importance of technologies such as hypervisors, which create and manage virtual machines, and cloud orchestration tools, which automate the provisioning and management of VMs. These technologies enable efficient resource allocation, rapid scalability, and simplified infrastructure management, making virtual machines a key component of cloud computing environments. 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: Virtual machines. 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, 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, fog computing, and centralised telemetry system, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for cloud in the technology industry
Virtual machines is a key innovation area in cloud
Virtual machines are software applications that replicate the hardware elements of a physical computer. These applications enable the creation of virtualised environments where users can execute operating systems and applications, facilitating resource sharing among multiple users.
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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual machines.
Key players in virtual machines – 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 virtual machines
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Intel||213||Unlock Company Profile|
|International Business Machines (IBM)||197||Unlock Company Profile|
|SoftBank Group||76||Unlock Company Profile|
|Huawei Investment & Holding||66||Unlock Company Profile|
|Desktone||63||Unlock Company Profile|
|Qualcomm||40||Unlock Company Profile|
|Microsoft||39||Unlock Company Profile|
|Amazon.com||26||Unlock Company Profile|
|Bitdefender Ipr Management||26||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Group||24||Unlock Company Profile|
|Hitachi||20||Unlock Company Profile|
|Unisys||18||Unlock Company Profile|
|Advanced Micro Devices||17||Unlock Company Profile|
|VMware||16||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alphabet||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Dell Technologies||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Micron Technology||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cbfi Investment||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cisco Systems||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Global Foundries||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Baidu||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nutanix||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Citrix Systems||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Renesas Electronics||7||Unlock Company Profile|
|CommVault Systems||6||Unlock Company Profile|
|Open Invention Network||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||5||Unlock Company Profile|
|Furukawa||5||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Intel is a leading patent filer in virtual machines. One of the company’s patents focuses on a method that utilises a network interface controller to monitor a circular transmit ring, which stores descriptors describing data and containing virtual memory locations. The method involves detecting written descriptors in the transmit ring and attempting to retrieve translations for the corresponding guest bus addresses, followed by reading the descriptors from the transmit ring using the network interface controller. Other patent filers in the space include international Business Machines (IBM) and SoftBank Group.
In terms of geographical reach, Bitdefender Ipr Management leads the pack, followed by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Alphabet. In terms of application diversity, VMware holds the top position, followed by Advanced Micro Devices and Micron Technology.
Cloud innovation in virtual machines has revolutionised the way computing resources are provisioned and utilised. Virtual machines (VMs) are emulated computer systems that run on a physical machine, enabling multiple operating systems and applications to run concurrently. Cloud providers offer virtual machines as a service, allowing users to deploy and manage VMs remotely.
To further understand how cloud is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing – Thematic Intelligence.