Research and innovation in internet of things (IoT) in the technology and communications sector has declined in the last year, according to new data from research firm GlobalData.

The most recent figures show that the number of IoT patent applications in the industry stood at 683 in the three months ending November – down from 1,150 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to IoT followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 681 in the three months ending November last year to 491 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

IoT is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

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By GlobalData

Huawei Investment & Holding Co Ltd was the top internet of things innovator in the technology and communications sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in China, filed 136 IoT related patents in the three months ending November. That was down from 244 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the South Korea based LG Corp with 76 IoT patent applications, the United States based Apple Inc (75 applications), and Japan based Sony Group Corp (43 applications).

LG Corp has recently ramped up R&D in internet of things. It saw growth of 19.7% in related patent applications in the three months ending November compared to the same period last year – the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the technology and communications sector.