The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increasing demand for clear voice communication in various sectors, advancements in machine learning algorithms for improved accuracy, and the expanding use of voice-controlled devices across industries, and growing importance of technologies such as acoustic modeling, statistical analysis, and deep learning approaches that enable accurate identification of speech segments in audio streams. 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: voice activity detection. 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

Voice activity detection is a key innovation area in technology

Voice activity detection (VAD) is the technique of discerning the occurrence of human speech within an audio signal. It's a signal processing method employed to differentiate between intervals of speech and intervals of silence or background noise in an audio recording or stream. VAD algorithms scrutinize the attributes of the audio signal to ascertain if it encompasses human speech or not.

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 voice activity detection.

Key players in voice activity detection – 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 voice activity detection

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Qualcomm 5 Unlock Company Profile
Cirrus Logic 2 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 13 Unlock Company Profile
NXP Semiconductors 5 Unlock Company Profile
Dolphin Integration 4 Unlock Company Profile
Electronic Warfare Associates 1 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Yandex 3 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 3 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shandong Electric Power 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Goodix Technology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou National Chip Science & Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
AONdevIces 1 Unlock Company Profile
Cerence 5 Unlock Company Profile
Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoj Otvetstvennostyu Yandeks 1 Unlock Company Profile
UniDT (Shanghai) 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among the companies innovating in voice activity detection, Apple is one of the leading patents filers. The company’s patent describes the disclosed systems and methods that involve the operation of an intelligent automated assistant. One such process involves recognizing input indicating movement of an electronic device, capturing audio input through the device's microphone, and subsequently deciding whether to start a virtual assistant session based on the combined data of audio input and motion input. If the decision is affirmative, the virtual assistant session is initiated; otherwise, the initiation is skipped. Other prominent patent filers in the space include Sony and Shenzhen Goodix Technology.

In terms of application diversity, Intel leads the pack, while Yandex and Obshchestvo S Ogranichennoj Otvetstvennostyu Yandeks stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sony Group held the top position, followed by Apple and Shenzhen Goodix Technology.

Voice activity detection plays a crucial role in various applications such as speech recognition, telecommunications, and audio processing. By accurately identifying periods of speech amidst background noise or silence, it enables systems to efficiently process and respond to spoken commands, significantly enhancing the usability and effectiveness of voice-controlled technologies.

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.