The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the expanding adoption of AR/VR applications across gaming, education, training, and healthcare sectors, the increasing demand for realistic and immersive audio experiences, combined with advancements in audio processing technologies, and growing importance of technologies such as binaural audio rendering, sound field modeling, and advanced audio processing algorithms. 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 Virtual and augmented reality in technology: AR/VR audio. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 1.5 million patents to analyze innovation intensity for the technology industry, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

AR/VR audio is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality

AR/VR audio encompasses the strategies and approaches employed to generate top-notch spatial audio for immersive encounters within virtual and augmented reality settings. This entails modifying original audio inputs linked to spatial sound origins to produce resultant audio signals that can be managed according to specific factors like proximity and direction.

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 AR/VR audio.

Key players in AR/VR audio – 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 AR/VR audio

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
HTC 9 Unlock Company Profile
D-Box Technologies 11 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 83 Unlock Company Profile
Sonos 10 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha 59 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 53 Unlock Company Profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 293 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 8 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 45 Unlock Company Profile
JVCKENWOOD 9 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 28 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 346 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 10 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 316 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 17 Unlock Company Profile
Bose 13 Unlock Company Profile
Roland 13 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 8 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 135 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 8 Unlock Company Profile
Mimi Hearing Technologies 10 Unlock Company Profile
Noveto Systems 15 Unlock Company Profile
Gaudio Lab 36 Unlock Company Profile
Nahimic 12 Unlock Company Profile
Verizon Patent And Licensing 13 Unlock Company Profile
Mach1 7 Unlock Company Profile
Audible Reality 16 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in AR/VR audio, Nokia is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patents are aimed at describing a device that includes mechanisms for simultaneously managing the display of content on both a handheld device and a spatial audio device. Additionally, it enables the user to experience a specific portion of spatial audio content, the first part but not the second, through the handheld device rather than the spatial audio device, in response to a user-initiated action. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Sony and Magic Leap.

In terms of application diversity, Roland leads the pack, while Noveto Systems and HTC stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Noveto Systems held the top position, followed by D-Box Technologies and Sonos

AR/VR audio enhances the overall user experience by providing realistic and directional sound cues, allowing users to perceive depth and distance in virtual environments. This spatial audio technology plays a crucial role in creating a sense of presence, making virtual experiences feel more authentic and engaging. It is particularly vital in applications like gaming, training simulations, and virtual tours, where accurate audio cues can significantly enhance immersion. As AR and VR technologies continue to advance, the role of audio in creating truly immersive experiences becomes increasingly significant.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Virtual Reality (VR).

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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.