The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for high-quality audio capture and communication in applications such as teleconferencing, voice recognition, and smart speakers. The growing importance of technologies such as advanced signal processing algorithms, microphone array designs, and adaptive beamforming techniques is further driving innovation in the technology industry. These technologies enable improved speech intelligibility, enhanced noise suppression, and better overall audio quality, offering significant benefits in various industries and applications where accurate and clear sound capture is crucial. 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 Technology Innovation: Microphone beamforming. 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, microphone beamforming, live betting games, and quantum dots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Circuit design testing, communication, smart contracts, and surround sound systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are vehicle platooning and PCI power management, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Microphone beamforming is a key innovation area in technology

Microphone beamforming is a method of signal processing that optimises the ratio between the desired sound signal and background noise in audio recordings or broadcasts. It involves the integration of multiple microphones to generate a concentrated sound beam directed at the intended sound source while reducing undesirable noise. This technique enhances the overall sound quality and reduces the interference caused by ambient noise, resulting in clearer and more focused audio recordings or broadcasts.

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 microphone beamforming.

Key players in microphone beamforming – 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 microphone beamforming space

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Microsoft 130 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 70 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Voxtech 44 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 32 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 25 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
OrCam Technologies 22 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 17 Unlock Company Profile
Cirrus Logic 16 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 15 Unlock Company Profile
Sonos 13 Unlock Company Profile 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 9 Unlock Company Profile
GoPro 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nureva 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 7 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 6 Unlock Company Profile
HP 6 Unlock Company Profile
Roku 6 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 6 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 5 Unlock Company Profile
Digital Dream Labs 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Microsoft is a leading patent filer in the microphone beamforming space. One of the company’s patents describes a method, computer programme product, and computing system for automating diarisation. This method involves obtaining encounter information from a patient encounter and processing it to associate different portions of the information with specific encounter participants. Based on this information, an encounter transcript is generated.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Qualcomm and Shenzhen Voxtech.

By geographic reach, Furukawa leads the pack, followed by Huawei and Nokia. In terms of application diversity, Digital Dream Labs holds the top position, followed by Qualcomm and Furukawa.

Microphone beamforming enhances the quality and clarity of audio recordings or broadcasts. By focusing the microphone's sensitivity on the desired sound source and minimising background noise, beamforming improves the signal-to-noise ratio and captures clearer audio. This technology is particularly valuable in various applications such as teleconferencing, voice recognition, virtual assistants, and live performances, where accurate and intelligible sound reproduction is essential. 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.