The technology sector continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the convergence of technological progress, heightened connectivity, and the necessity for companies to enhance efficiency and competitiveness in a swiftly transforming marketplace, as well as growing importance of technologies such as routing algorithms, packet switching, communication protocols, and interconnect technologies. These technologies collectively enable network-on-a-chip architectures to provide efficient and scalable communication within a single chip, facilitating high-performance and energy-efficient systems-on-chip (SoC) designs. 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: network-on-a-chipBuy 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, aural exciters, in-memory computing, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. RAID transmission error detection, projector-camera system, and hyperspectral imaging, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are digital image interpolation and distributed RAID drives, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

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

Network-on-a-chip (NoC) is a design methodology for integrated circuits that employs interconnected processing nodes to enable communication among various cores and IP blocks within the chip. It utilizes a communication infrastructure comprising routing algorithms, physical interconnects, and dedicated communication protocols to facilitate efficient data exchange between components on the chip.

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 50+ 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 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 network-on-a-chip

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 6 Unlock Company Profile
Arteris IP 42 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 37 Unlock Company Profile
Inventec 6 Unlock Company Profile
Texas Instruments 7 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 5 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 9 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 97 Unlock Company Profile
Infineon Technologies 5 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 45 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 62 Unlock Company Profile
Achronix Semiconductor 9 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 6 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 271 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 104 Unlock Company Profile
Mythic 13 Unlock Company Profile
Tenstorrent 13 Unlock Company Profile
Kalray 32 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Cambricon Information Technology 33 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Friday Harbor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Scientia Sol Mentis 7 Unlock Company Profile
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission 11 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Intel is one of the leading patent filers in network-on-a-chip. The company’s patents are aimed at systems and methods for providing a network-on-chip (NoC) structure on an integrated circuit for high-speed data passing.

The NoC structure may includes multiple NoC stations with a hard-IP interface having a bidirectional connection to local components of the integrated circuit. The NoC stations may have a soft-IP interface to support the hard-IP interface of the NoC station.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Micron Technology and Rambus.  

By geographic reach, Taiyo Yuden leads the pack, followed by Micron Technology and Etron Technology. In terms of application diversity, Intel holds the top position, followed by Pure Storage and Sony Group.

Network-on-a-chip can overcome communication bottlenecks, enhance performance, improve power efficiency, and provide scalability and flexibility in designing complex SoCs. It plays a vital role in enabling the development of advanced and feature-rich electronic systems across various domains, including consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunications, and high-performance computing.  

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.