The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the increasing adoption of IoT devices across various industries, driving the need for seamless and localized communication, and growing importance of technologies such as low-power wireless communication protocols, edge computing for decentralized processing, and IoT platforms for seamless integration and management of devices, collectively driving advancements in IoT device-to-device (D2D) communication solutions. 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 Internet of Things in technology: D2D communication. 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, real-time fault monitoring, smart inspection, and physiological monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart window screens, smart lighting, and multi-sensor collision avoidance are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is NFC broadcasting, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the technology industry

D2D communication is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Device-to-device communication involves direct interaction between two devices, bypassing the necessity for intermediaries such as base stations or access points. This is made possible through wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, offering the potential to enhance network capacity, minimize latency, and introduce novel services.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of D2D communication.

Key players in D2D communication – 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 D2D communication

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 181 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 21 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 601 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 138 Unlock Company Profile
MediaTek 39 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 618 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 26 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 20 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 29 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 139 Unlock Company Profile
Network-1 Technologies 65 Unlock Company Profile
Acer 20 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 550 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 206 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 123 Unlock Company Profile
KT 36 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 18 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 273 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 2077 Unlock Company Profile
Innovative Technology Lab 26 Unlock Company Profile
Convida Wireless 95 Unlock Company Profile
Neul 56 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 206 Unlock Company Profile
Vivo Communication Technology 26 Unlock Company Profile
Verisure Sàrl 21 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 21 Unlock Company Profile
Sca Ipla 26 Unlock Company Profile
ELG Electronic Kft 46 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Langbo Communication Technology 32 Unlock Company Profile
Honor Device 18 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in D2D communication, Intel is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent is describing a special kind of network for devices like those used in the Internet of Things (IoT). The network helps these devices talk to a bigger network in a way that's fast and efficient. It uses a special set of rules that make the messages shorter and easier to understand. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Apple and Qualcomm.

In terms of application diversity, Network-1 Technologies held the top position, while Deutsche Telekom and Verisure stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographical reach, Neul leads the pack, followed by Intel and Network-1 Technologies.

Device-to-device communication in the IoT is highly significant as it allows devices to directly communicate with one another, bypassing the need for central hubs. This not only improves efficiency and reduces latency, but also enables localized interactions, which are crucial for applications such as smart cities, industrial automation, and healthcare.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things.

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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.