The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the growing demand for high-quality audio in various sectors such as entertainment, gaming, virtual reality, and augmented reality and growing importance of technologies such as binaural audio, ambisonics, wave field synthesis, and object-based audio. These technologies work together to simulate three-dimensional soundscapes, enhancing the sense of depth, localization, and movement of sound sources, ultimately delivering an immersive and captivating audio experience. 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: Spatial sound processing. 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, 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, Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) power management, and wireless microphones, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Spatial sound processing is a key innovation area in technology

Spatial sound processing involves manipulating the position of sounds in a three-dimensional space to create immersive and lifelike audio environments. This technique enhances audio experiences by simulating realistic soundscapes. It finds applications in various fields, including virtual reality, gaming, sound design, and film scoring, enabling a heightened sense of auditory immersion.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of spatial sound processing.

Key players in spatial sound processing – 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 spatial sound processing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Dolby Laboratories 290 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 75 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 69 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 55 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung eV 44 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 39 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 38 Unlock Company Profile
Xperi 22 Unlock Company Profile
LG 22 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha 21 Unlock Company Profile
Avaya 20 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 16 Unlock Company Profile
Noveto Systems 15 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sonos 13 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 11 Unlock Company Profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 11 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 11 Unlock Company Profile
Dirac Research 11 Unlock Company Profile
Nahimic 11 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 10 Unlock Company Profile
D-Box Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 9 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 7 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 7 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 7 Unlock Company Profile
TEAC 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
Madison Square Garden Entertainment 5 Unlock Company Profile
HTC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Hoso Kyokai 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Dolby Laboratories is a leading patent filer in spatial sound processing. One of the company’s patents focuses on a method for extracting audio objects from channel-based audio content with the assistance of video content. The method involves extracting video objects associated with the audio content, determining relevant information about these objects, and then extracting an audio object from the channel-based audio content. The extracted audio object is intended to be rendered as an upmixed audio signal based on the obtained information. The invention also includes the corresponding system and computer program product.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Nokia and Sony. 

By geographic reach, Ford Motor leads the pack, followed by LG Display and Dolby Laboratories. In terms of application diversity, LG Display holds the top position, followed by Sonos and LG. 

Technology innovation in spatial sound processing is revolutionizing audio experiences by creating immersive and realistic sound environments.

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.