The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by regulatory reforms and risk mitigation, and the growing importance of technologies such as QR codes, RFID technology, and augmented reality. 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 Cybersecurity: Blockchain payments.
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, smart contracts and transaction data blockchain are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Biometric authentication, biometric payments, and blockchain payments are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are user biometric authentication and e-commerce robotic process automation, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for cybersecurity in the retail industry
Blockchain payments is a key innovation area in cybersecurity
A blockchain payment system is a payment method through a blockchain or distributed ledger system that helps to facilitate and process transactions as well as verify them. These systems can be used by individuals, businesses, or financial institutions and offer a way for faster and smoother crypto payments and transactions.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of blockchain payments.
Key players in blockchain payments – 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 blockchain payments
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
SoftBank Group is one of the leading patent filers in blockchain payments. Some other key patent filers in the space include nChain Holdings, Headwater Research, Headwater Partners I, and Licentia Group. nChain Holdings and eLivestock Global (ELG) entered a partnership in October 2022 to launch a cattle traceability platform with the help of the former’s blockchain solutions. The platform will help to ensure that livestock are healthier, and farmers are able to sustain and secure their livelihood.
In terms of application diversity, Kudelski leads the pack. Hitachi and Proxense stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Black Gold Coin held the top position, followed by Licentia Group and Headwater Partners I.
Blockchain payments will potentially become the approach favoured by many future retail players. The increasing use of this technology will provide more convenience and security to both customers and retailers.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Retail.