The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the demand for compact and power-efficient devices, as well as the need for seamless integration in various applications such as mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT), and automotive systems, and growing importance of technologies such as advanced semiconductor fabrication techniques, multi-core processors, and power management solutions to optimize performance and energy efficiency. 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: SoC computing. 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, network-on-a-chip, in-memory computing, and aural exciters are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Electron beam lithography, OLED pixel compensation circuits, and PCI power management are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are capacitive touch panels and emergency communications network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

SoC computing is a key innovation area in technology

SoC computing entails consolidating diverse elements like processors, memory, and peripherals onto a solitary chip. This streamlines electronic devices, making them more efficient, compact, and less complex. It enables the creation of devices that are power-efficient and versatile across a broad spectrum of applications.

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 SoC computing.

Key players in SoC computing – 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 SoC computing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ZTE 17 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 115 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 399 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 29 Unlock Company Profile
MediaTek 40 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 96 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 20 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 114 Unlock Company Profile
Renesas Electronics 31 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 102 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 23 Unlock Company Profile
NVIDIA 38 Unlock Company Profile
IBM 88 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics 38 Unlock Company Profile
Microchip Technology 36 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 1340 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 263 Unlock Company Profile
Nexus Display Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory 19 Unlock Company Profile
Xockets 31 Unlock Company Profile
SambaNova Systems 41 Unlock Company Profile
Bonutti Skeletal Innovations 30 Unlock Company Profile
III Holdings 2 20 Unlock Company Profile
Monarch Networking Solutions 30 Unlock Company Profile
Unification Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in SoC computing, Intel is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent describes the technology for dynamic accelerator selection that involves a compute sled equipped with a network interface controller. This controller facilitates communication with a remote accelerator on an accelerator sled via a network, featuring both a local accelerator and a compute engine. The compute engine collects network telemetry data, indicating the level of network bandwidth usage, and uses this data to decide whether to accelerate a function managed by the compute sled. It also determines, upon choosing to accelerate the function, whether to delegate it to the remote accelerator on the accelerator sled based on the telemetry data. In cases where the function is not delegated to the remote accelerator, the compute engine allocates it to the local accelerator of the network interface controller. Some of the other prominent patent filers in the space include Microsoft and Micron Technology. 

In terms of application diversity, Semiconductor Energy Laboratory leads the pack, while Apple and Intel stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Dell Technologies held the top position, followed by Xockets and Nexus Display Technologies.

SoC computing is pivotal in modern technology as it integrates multiple crucial components onto a single chip, including processors, memory, and peripherals. This consolidation enables the creation of compact, power-efficient electronic devices, driving advancements in areas ranging from mobile technology to embedded systems.  

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.