The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by higher adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increasing demand for seamless and intuitive user interfaces, and proliferation of smart homes and the need for interconnected devices have further accelerated the market growth. The growing importance of technologies such as capacitive touch sensing, and wireless connectivity protocols such as Wi-Fi or Zigbee provides enhanced user experiences, increased convenience, and improved energy efficiency in various settings. 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: Touch-sensitive switches. 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

Touch-sensitive switches is a key innovation area in IoT

Touch-sensitive switches are electronic devices designed to detect a user's touch and initiate an electrical circuit. Typically employed for controlling electrical appliances such as lights, fans, and alarms, these switches are available in two main types. Pressure-sensitive switches detect touch based on applied pressure, while capacitive switches detect changes in electrical charge when a user's finger makes contact with the switch.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of touch-sensitive switches.

Key players in touch-sensitive switches – 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 touch-sensitive switches

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Tpk Touch Solutions (Xiamen) 99 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 74 Unlock Company Profile
Innolux 52 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Kodak 38 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 35 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 29 Unlock Company Profile
TPK 20 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electro-Mechanics 20 Unlock Company Profile
E Ink 18 Unlock Company Profile
Canatu 13 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 12 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 11 Unlock Company Profile
Wintek 11 Unlock Company Profile
Nissha 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 11 Unlock Company Profile
AUO 10 Unlock Company Profile
Elan Microelectronics 10 Unlock Company Profile
Wistron 9 Unlock Company Profile
MELFAS 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hosiden 9 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen O-film Tech 7 Unlock Company Profile
Tatung 7 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 7 Unlock Company Profile
LG 6 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-Pixel 6 Unlock Company Profile
eTurbotouch Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Compal Electronics 5 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Display 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Tpk Touch Solutions (Xiamen) is a leading patent filer in touch-sensitive switches. One of the company’s patents describes the touch panel that consists of multiple first electrodes arranged parallel to each other along a specific direction, each composed of several electrode blocks and connection traces. Similarly, there are multiple second electrodes arranged parallel to each other along another direction, with electrode blocks and connection traces. Insulating blocks are included, comprising a main portion placed between the first and second connection traces, and an extending portion reaching the space between the first and second electrode blocks. The invention also presents a method for creating the touch panel.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Samsung Group and Innolux.       

By geographic reach, Canatu leads the pack, followed by Uni-Pixel and Hosiden. In terms of application diversity, Fujifilm Holdings holds the top position, followed by TPK Holding and Uni-Pixel.  

IoT innovation is revolutionising touch-sensitive switches, bringing significant advancements to the market. These switches leverage IoT technology to enable touch-based control and automation in various applications.    

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.