The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing demand for instant insights in sectors like finance, healthcare, and e-commerce, along with advancements in hardware capabilities and memory technologies, and growing importance of technologies such as specialized databases, high-speed processors, and optimized algorithms tailored for rapid in-memory operations. 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: in-memory 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

In-memory computing is a key innovation area in technology

In-memory computing employs a computing architecture that utilizes random-access memory (RAM) for data storage, as opposed to traditional disk-based storage systems. This shift enables swifter access and manipulation of data, leading to substantial enhancements in the speed and efficiency of data processing.

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

Key players in in-memory 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 in-memory computing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nvidia 19 Unlock Company Profile
LG Electronics 19 Unlock Company Profile
Silicon Storage Technology 150 Unlock Company Profile
Microchip Technology 68 Unlock Company Profile
SK Hynix 137 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electronics 447 Unlock Company Profile
ARM 17 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch 19 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon Technologies 18 Unlock Company Profile
Xilinx 32 Unlock Company Profile
Atmel 53 Unlock Company Profile
Fujitsu 20 Unlock Company Profile
Microsemi 59 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Technologies 20 Unlock Company Profile
Google 54 Unlock Company Profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development 58 Unlock Company Profile
Western Digital Technologies 38 Unlock Company Profile
HRL Laboratories 24 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft Technology Licensing 28 Unlock Company Profile
Microsemi Storage Solutions 53 Unlock Company Profile
IBM (China) Investment 23 Unlock Company Profile
SanDisk Technologies 50 Unlock Company Profile
Silicon Storage Technology 197 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 162 Unlock Company Profile
Perceive 19 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 278 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 18 Unlock Company Profile
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 72 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 16 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 16 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 22 Unlock Company Profile
TDK 46 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 45 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 20 Unlock Company Profile
Winbond Electronics 40 Unlock Company Profile
Infineon Technologies 31 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 24 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 371 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 31 Unlock Company Profile
Macronix International 69 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 30 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 180 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 180 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 72 Unlock Company Profile
Mythic 18 Unlock Company Profile
Cambricon Technologies 53 Unlock Company Profile
Kioxia 23 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Cambricon Information Technology 52 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in in-memory computing, Samsung Electronics is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent is aimed at a neural network processor designed for neural network operations comprising of a memory containing computer-readable instructions and kernel intermediate data. The kernel intermediate data encompasses multiple calculated values derived from weight values within kernel data. The processor executes the instructions to conduct a convolution operation, selecting specific kernel intermediate values from the array based on an input feature map. Other prominent patent filers in the space include IBM and Qualcomm. 

In terms of application diversity, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory leads the pack, while TDK and Infineon Technologies stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Shanghai Cambricon Information Technology held the top position, followed by Mythic and Google.

In-memory computing revolutionizes data processing by storing information directly in RAM, enabling lightning-fast access speeds compared to traditional disk-based systems. This technology is pivotal for real-time analytics, complex computations, and applications demanding rapid response times, driving advancements across various industries. 

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.