The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for home entertainment and gaming experiences that offer high-quality audio, and growing importance of technologies such as speaker placement algorithms, digital signal processing, and audio codecs that support multichannel audio formats. These technologies work together to deliver an immersive surround sound experience, enhancing the audio immersion and enjoyment for users. 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: Surround sound systems. 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 and peripheral component interconnect (PCI) power management, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the technology industry

Surround sound systems is a key innovation area in technology

Surround sound systems utilise multiple speakers strategically placed around the listener to deliver a captivating and lifelike audio experience. By creating a sense of immersion, surround sound systems enhance the realism and depth of sound, enveloping the listener in a rich auditory environment.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of surround sound systems.

Key players in surround sound systems – 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 surround sound systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
LG Display 261 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 95 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 31 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 29 Unlock Company Profile
LG 21 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 19 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Murata Manufacturing 16 Unlock Company Profile
Sentons 14 Unlock Company Profile
Dai Nippon Printing 11 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 9 Unlock Company Profile
Chief Land Electronic 7 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 5 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 5 Unlock Company Profile
TCL Technology Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

LG Display is a leading patent filer in the surround sound systems space. One of the company’s patents describes a display apparatus that consists of a display panel emitting light to display images, a supporting member located on the rear surface of the panel, and a sound generator positioned between them. The sound generator comprises a magnetic circuit unit and a voice coil unit, both situated on the rear surface of the display panel. By vibrating the display panel, the magnetic circuit unit and voice coil unit work together to produce sound.

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

By geographic reach, Chief Land Electronic leads the pack, followed by Dai Nippon Printing and Sony. In terms of application diversity, Corning holds the top position, followed by AGC and Murata Manufacturing.

Surround sound systems enhance audio experiences by providing an immersive and realistic sound environment. By utilising multiple speakers strategically placed around the listener, these systems create a sense of depth, spatiality, and directional audio cues. This technology is particularly valued in home theatres, gaming, and music production, offering a more engaging and captivating audio experience. Surround sound systems contribute to a heightened level of immersion and enjoyment, enriching the overall entertainment and multimedia consumption for users.

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.