The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing demand for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, flexible and scalable network solutions, rise in cloud-based applications, and the need for enhanced network performance and security, and growing importance of technologies such as virtualization, network function virtualization (NFV), and cloud-based management platforms. These technologies work together to provide centralized control, dynamic traffic management, real-time analytics, and improved network agility, ultimately optimizing connectivity and enhancing the overall performance of distributed networks. 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 Internet of Things: Software-defined WAN. 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, environmental sensors, digital twins, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intelligent embedded systems, smart factory systems, and smart grids are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are contactless verification, wearable physiological monitors, and software defined wide area network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for IoT in the technology industry

Software defined WAN is a key innovation area in IoT

Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), a network architecture utilizing SDN, dynamically routes traffic across WANs, offering increased agility, flexibility, and simplified management. This technology provides businesses with a cost-effective solution for connecting branch offices, remote sites, and cloud applications, making WANs more efficient and adaptable.

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 190+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of software defined WAN.

Key players in software defined WAN – 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 software defined WAN

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Huawei Investment & Holding 4455 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 3873 Unlock Company Profile
LG 2641 Unlock Company Profile
ZTE 1552 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 1415 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 1362 Unlock Company Profile
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson 1177 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 1094 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 1071 Unlock Company Profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 879 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 825 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 810 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 647 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 530 Unlock Company Profile
Ntt Docomo 449 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 433 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 418 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 397 Unlock Company Profile
BlackBerry 365 Unlock Company Profile
Datang Telecom Technology 361 Unlock Company Profile
Vivo Communication Technology 292 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 213 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 169 Unlock Company Profile
China Tower 147 Unlock Company Profile
China Mobile Communication 133 Unlock Company Profile
Legend 132 Unlock Company Profile
Telefon AB Lm Ericsson 127 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 126 Unlock Company Profile
ELG Electronic Kft 124 Unlock Company Profile
Broadcom 121 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 111 Unlock Company Profile
KT 99 Unlock Company Profile
China Pacific Insurance 99 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 98 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 96 Unlock Company Profile
ASUSTeK Computer 95 Unlock Company Profile
SK Telecom 93 Unlock Company Profile
Sun Patent Trust 93 Unlock Company Profile
Datang Telecom Group 89 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 84 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 83 Unlock Company Profile
CSR 74 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Langbo Communication Technology 70 Unlock Company Profile
Td Tech Communication Technologies 70 Unlock Company Profile
Coolpad Group 68 Unlock Company Profile
PANTECH 59 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 58 Unlock Company Profile
Microchip Technology 58 Unlock Company Profile
Neul 58 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 56 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Huawei Investment & Holding is a leading patent filer in software defined WAN. One of the company’s patents focuses on a method for reporting channel state information, involving receiving a sounding signal set from the base station and determining a reference signal resource configuration index based on the received set. The method further includes receiving a corresponding reference signal set and determining channel state information accordingly. Finally, the method involves transmitting the reference signal resource configuration index and the channel state information back to the base station. 

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Qualcomm and LG.        

 By geographic reach, CSR leads the pack, followed by Neul and Wireless Future Technologies. In terms of application diversity, Infineon Technologies holds the top position, followed by Dolby Laboratories and PHC Holdings.   

 IoT innovation has significantly impacted the realm of Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), driving remarkable market growth. SD-WAN leverages IoT technology to enable efficient and secure network connectivity and management across distributed locations.

To further understand how IoT is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things – Thematic Research.

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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.