The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by desire for convenience and improved customer experience, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, and virtual contact centre automation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 133,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Retail: Virtual contact center automation.
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 stabilising 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.
70+ innovations will shape the retail industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the retail industry using innovation intensity models built on over 128,000 patents, there are 70+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous vending and AI-assisted surveillance are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Autonomous delivery vehicle navigation system, autonomous delivery management, and planogram modelling are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are virtual contact centre automation and checkout object identification, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the retail industry
Virtual contact centre automation is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence
A virtual contact centre supports contact centre agents, spread across different locations geographically. The solution improves the digital customer journey end-to-end across locations. These solutions focus on creating connected, smart, self-service and human-assisted customer interactions throughout their journey.
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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual contact centre automation.
Key players in virtual contact centre automation – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to virtual contact centre automation
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
In terms of patents filed, Qualcomm, Verizon Media, BlackBerry, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson are the leading companies. In December 2022, Lumen Technologies announced the introduction of a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution called Lumen Solutions for Contact Center – Genesys Cloud. For the same, Lumen expanded its partnership with Genesys, a provider of contact centre technology. With Genesys Cloud’s data analytics and real-time monitoring, companies can use artificial intelligence for the automation of customer interaction through voice bots and chatbots.
In terms of application diversity, Verizon Patent and Licensing, Amadeus IT Group, Apple, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Panasonic are the leading companies in this space.
In terms of geographic reach, Afiniti International, Satmap International, Amadeus IT Group, Asanuma, and Alphabet are the leading innovators.
Virtual contact centres enable the building of smart applications that use auto-generated insights using artificial intelligence.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence in Retail.