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Technology components at the heart of invention and innovation

The digital transformation is probably more simply explained as better access to information and better use of that information. Also articulated as an evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is the fusion of the digital, human and physical worlds with connectivity between these worlds providing an unprecedented access to knowledge. This new connectivity is driving an acceleration of innovation and a velocity of disruption that has never been seen before.

Insight generated using the Universal Technology Taxonomy (UTT) classification tool which categorises all the world’s inventions into 114 separate technology classes across nine top level themes: Electrical; Energy; Information; Life Sciences; Materials; Mechanical; Semiconductor; Sensors & Optics; and Telecommunication.

Key Observations:

  • Across Telecommunications, Wireless Networks is the dominant category of invention globally, but recent pace of innovation has shifted towards Location & Satellite solutions. No surprise that China-protected inventions dominate, but US organisations including Qualcomm, Cisco and IBM are among the top owners of invention globally.
  • Across Wireless Networks inventions protected in the US & Europe, the top ten owners are also the top innovators as measured by 2021 publications. Qualcomm, Apple & LG Corp stand out for their relatively higher patent portfolio strength while of the top ten innovators Guangzhou-based consumer electronics company BBK Electronics has registered the highest relative growth in publications from 2018 to 2021.
  • Huawei is the most active innovator within the Location & Satellite category, but activity is characterised by the presence of big aerospace & defense names including Boeing, Airbus, Thales, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Top ten innovators based on 2021 publications and not already in the top owners list include Datang Mobile, BBK Electronics, Colorado-based satellite communications specialist Echo Star Corp and Tokyo-based Telecoms giant NTT.

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