The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by cybersecurity and technology, and growing importance of technologies such as geofencing 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 Cybersecurity in Retail: POS geofencing.

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

POS geofencing is a key innovation area in cybersecurity

Geofencing is a technology that sets virtual boundaries and triggers events when a mobile device with a certain software installed in it crosses the boundary. In terms of cybersecurity, geofencing can be employed to prevent users from a specific region from entering a company’s network and systems.

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 30 companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of POS geofencing.

Key players in POS geofencing– 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 POS geofencing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Headwater Research 189 Unlock company profile
Headwater Partners I 180 Unlock company profile
Visa 73 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 58 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 44 Unlock company profile
Apple 25 Unlock company profile 23 Unlock company profile
PayPal Holdings 22 Unlock company profile
Monticello Enterprises 21 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 16 Unlock company profile
Xiaomi 15 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 12 Unlock company profile
eBay 11 Unlock company profile
Cubic 11 Unlock company profile
STMicroelectronics 10 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 10 Unlock company profile
Nokia 9 Unlock company profile
JPMorgan Chase 9 Unlock company profile
Toronto-Dominion Bank 8 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Goodix Technology 8 Unlock company profile
ZTE 7 Unlock company profile
Eagency 7 Unlock company profile
Walmart 7 Unlock company profile
Princo 7 Unlock company profile
Thomson Reuters 7 Unlock company profile
Thomson Reuters Global Resources Unlimited Company 6 Unlock company profile
Siemens 5 Unlock company profile
China UnionPay 5 Unlock company profile
Infineon Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
MC Familiengesellschaft mbH 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

In terms of patents filed, leading players in the POS geofencing space are Headwater Research, Headwater Partners I, Visa, SoftBank Group, Huawei Investment & Holding, Apple, and In July 2021, Amazon Web Services launched Amazon Location Service, which helps businesses enhance their own applications by adding location functionality. The service offers geofencing, maps, geocoding, and asset tracking.

In terms of application diversity, leading players in the POS geofencing space are Eagency, STMicroelectronics, Sony Group, and SoftBank Group.

In terms of geographic reach, leading players in this space are Headwater Partners I, Thomson Reuters Global Resources, Alphabet, Siemens, and eBay.

Geofencing enables the generation of automatic alerts based on a geographic area’s defined coordinates. The technology can be used by retailers for advertising purposes.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Retail.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.