The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for increased efficiency, accuracy, and cost reduction in warehouse operations, as well as the rising demand for e-commerce and rapid order fulfilment. Also, growing importance of technologies such as autonomous mobile robots, warehouse management systems, and machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics is driving the market. 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 Robotics in technology: warehouse management automationBuy 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, inspection robots, robotic maintenance, and cleaning robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Surveillance robots, warehouse management automation, and automated palletizing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Warehouse management automation is a key innovation area in robotics

Warehouse management automation is the use of technology to automate or streamline the day-to-day operations of a warehouse. This includes processes such as inventory control, order fulfilment, shipping, and receiving. Automation can help improve efficiency, accuracy, and cost savings throughout the warehouse.

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 130+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of warehouse management automation.

Key players in warehouse management automation – 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 warehouse management automation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Murata Machinery 32 Unlock Company Profile
SATO 39 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 32 Unlock Company Profile
Konecranes 23 Unlock Company Profile
Yamato 18 Unlock Company Profile
Daifuku 34 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 35 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 41 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 115 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi Transport System 25 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 258 Unlock Company Profile
Ferrometal 16 Unlock Company Profile
OPEX 33 Unlock Company Profile
Locus Robotics 95 Unlock Company Profile
Jakob Hatteland Logistics 24 Unlock Company Profile
Invia Robotics 28 Unlock Company Profile
TGW Logistics Group 93 Unlock Company Profile
EXOTEC Solutions 14 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 66 Unlock Company Profile
GreyOrange 31 Unlock Company Profile
IAM Robotics 20 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 16 Unlock Company Profile
Syrius Robotics 34 Unlock Company Profile
Attabotics 16 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Geekplus Technology 113 Unlock Company Profile
Cainiao Smart Logistics 15 Unlock Company Profile
HAI ROBOTICS 40 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Intel is the leading patent filer in the warehouse management automation. One of the company’s patents describes a computing device for speculatively decompressing data. The device includes a deterministic decoder, one or more speculative decoders, and a decompression manager. The decompression manager determines the size of the smallest variable size code in the compressed data, decodes a variable size code using the deterministic decoder, and concurrently performs speculative decodes using the speculative decoders. The device outputs the first symbol associated with the deterministically decoded code and the second symbol associated with the speculatively decoded code.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Walmart and Beijing Geekplus Technology.

By geographic reach, Intel leads the pack, followed by OPEX and Jakob Hatteland Logistics. In terms of application diversity, Intel holds the top position, followed by IAM Robotics and Invia Robotics.

Warehouse management automation involves the use of technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to automate tasks like inventory management, order picking, and packing. Other key technologies involved include autonomous mobile robots, warehouse management systems, and machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics.

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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.