The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing demand for portable electronics, wearables, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices that require small and lightweight power sources. This has resulted in the growing importance of technologies such as thin-film deposition, solid-state electrolytes, thin-film electrodes, and microfabrication techniques. 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: Thin-film batteries. 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
Thin-film batteries is a key innovation area in technology
Thin-film batteries are rechargeable batteries that are thin, flexible, and lightweight, allowing them to be seamlessly incorporated into various products and materials. These batteries are constructed using thin layers of materials deposited on a substrate such as plastic or glass and find applications in a wide range of fields such as medical devices, wearables, consumer electronics, and smart cards.
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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of thin-film batteries.
Key players in thin-film batteries – 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 thin-film batteries
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2022)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Applied Materials||237||Unlock Company Profile|
|CEA||164||Unlock Company Profile|
|Johnson & Johnson||141||Unlock Company Profile|
|Dyson||113||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nokia||72||Unlock Company Profile|
|International Business Machines (IBM)||70||Unlock Company Profile|
|STMicroelectronics||65||Unlock Company Profile|
|Alphabet||48||Unlock Company Profile|
|Infinite Power Solutions||43||Unlock Company Profile|
|Infineon Technologies||42||Unlock Company Profile|
|Panasonic||32||Unlock Company Profile|
|Murata Manufacturing||29||Unlock Company Profile|
|Robert Bosch Stiftung||29||Unlock Company Profile|
|Apple||28||Unlock Company Profile|
|Carl Zeiss Stiftung||27||Unlock Company Profile|
|Sony Group||25||Unlock Company Profile|
|3M||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung Group||23||Unlock Company Profile|
|Samsung SDI||22||Unlock Company Profile|
|Cymbet||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|Koninklijke Philips||19||Unlock Company Profile|
|Eastman Kodak||18||Unlock Company Profile|
|Montana Tech Components||17||Unlock Company Profile|
|Tokyo Ohka Kogyo||16||Unlock Company Profile|
|Chatham Asset Management||16||Unlock Company Profile|
|Furukawa||15||Unlock Company Profile|
|Beijing Electronics||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Emw Energy||14||Unlock Company Profile|
|Imprint Energy||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Semiconductor Energy Laboratory||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Micronics Japan||13||Unlock Company Profile|
|Xerox||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|Printed Energy||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|ITEN||12||Unlock Company Profile|
|BAE Systems||11||Unlock Company Profile|
|Swatch Group||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Flex||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek||10||Unlock Company Profile|
|Schreiner Group||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|Energizer||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|L3Harris Technologies||9||Unlock Company Profile|
|General Electric||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Saralon||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Motorola Solutions||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Blue Spark Technologies||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Stora Enso||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Guala Technology||8||Unlock Company Profile|
|Huawei Investment & Holding||7||Unlock Company Profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Applied Materials is a leading patent filer in thin-film batteries. One of the company’s patents focuses on incorporating heat and light blocking layers in the stack of thin film structures and devices, such as solar cells, electrochromic, and thin film batteries, laser direct patterning enables the selective removal of specified layers. The light blocking layer, typically made of metal, absorbs, or reflects some of the laser energy to prevent damage to surrounding layers, while the heat blocking layer, a conductive layer with low thermal diffusivity, reduces heat transfer to underlying metal layers, ensuring they do not reach their melting temperature during laser direct patterning.
Other prominent patent filers in the space include CEA and Johnson & Johnson.
By geographic reach, Emw Energy leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Swatch. In terms of application diversity, Stora Enso holds the top position, followed by Flex and Renesas Electronics.
Thin-film batteries have significant importance due to their thin, flexible, and lightweight nature, that allows their integration into various products and materials. They enable the development of compact and portable electronic devices, such as medical devices, wearables, consumer electronics, and smart cards, providing efficient and reliable power sources in a space-constrained environment.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Technology.