The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by security and technology, and growing importance of technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts, and cloud. 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 Cloud in Retail: User identity blockchain.
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.
Biometric authentication, gesture-based user interfaces, and shipping management systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are user biometric authentication and instant messaging social networks, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for cloud in the retail industry
User identity blockchain is a key innovation area in cloud
Blockchain identity management can be employed to remove identity issues such as data insecurity, inaccessibility, and fraudulent identities. Blockchain technology enables users to manage digital identities owing to identity management, decentralised identifiers, and embedded encryption.
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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of user identity blockchain.
Key players in user identity blockchain – 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 user identity blockchain
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
In terms of patents filed, SoftBank Group, nChain, Licentia Group, Black Gold Coin, and Ant Group are the leading players in the user identity blockchain space. In October 2021, Ant Group announced that AntChain enterprise blockchain, which is the group’s proprietary blockchain, started supporting confidential computing using its own chip.
In terms of application diversity, Security Matters, Hitachi, Intel, and Baidu are the leading innovators in this space, while Black Gold Coin, Licentia Group, Rivetz, and nChain are the leading players in terms of geographic reach.
The use cases of blockchain in identify management include data monetisation, data portability, and self-sovereign identity.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing in Retail.