The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the escalating demands for high-performance computing across various industries, including AI, gaming, and scientific research, the increasing complexity of tasks, such as deep learning algorithms and data-intensive applications, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced hardware architectures, sophisticated programming models like OpenCL and CUDA, and software frameworks. 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: heterogenous computing. 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

Heterogenous computing is a key innovation area in technology

Heterogeneous computing involves the utilization of diverse processing units or cores within a system or architecture to enhance performance and efficiency. This approach integrates various processors like CPUs, GPUs, DSPs, and FPGAs, each handling specific workloads according to their unique strengths and capabilities. Through this amalgamation, heterogeneous computing strives to enhance overall system performance and optimize energy utilization by harnessing the distinct advantages of each type of processor.

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

Key players in heterogenous computing – 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 heterogenous computing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 65 Unlock Company Profile
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 42 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 44 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 530 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 132 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 146 Unlock Company Profile
Salesforce 49 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 40 Unlock Company Profile
SAP 99 Unlock Company Profile
Citrix Systems 63 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 100 Unlock Company Profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 159 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 35 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 49 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 44 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 43 Unlock Company Profile
VMware 37 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 80 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 637 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 30 Unlock Company Profile
Inspur Electronic Information Industry 97 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 462 Unlock Company Profile
China Mobile Communications Group 34 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 123 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing ByteDance Technology 30 Unlock Company Profile
Wuhan Note Exchange Center 32 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in heterogenous computing, International Business Machines (IBM) is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at describing a technique, system, and computer program for the retrieval of messages from message queues using a single program code. A data processing system for message queues is configured to enable this functionality. This system comprises a message queue operating within a host server, offering an API to applications connected to the message queue via a computer communications network. The API, provided by the message queue, incorporates a solitary program call that is equipped to initiate the opening of a queuing resource within the message queue, retrieve all messages within a message buffer from said resource, and subsequently close the queuing resource. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Microsoft and Intel.

In terms of application diversity, Intel leads the pack, while  Microsoft and Salesforce stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Intel held the top position, followed by Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Microsoft. 

Heterogeneous computing involves harnessing a mix of different processors like CPUs, GPUs, and specialized accelerators to collectively handle diverse computational tasks. This approach maximizes efficiency and performance for complex workloads, from artificial intelligence to scientific simulations. By utilizing the distinct strengths of various processors, heterogeneous computing enables more powerful and energy-efficient computing solutions. It plays a pivotal role in addressing the escalating demands for high-performance computing across various industries, including AI, gaming, and scientific research, and is pivotal in advancing the capabilities of computing technology.

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.