The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a number of factors including security concerns and the growing importance of technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. 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: e-commerce robotic process 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, 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
e-commerce robotic process automation is a key innovation area in cybersecurity
Robotic process automation (RPA) in cybersecurity includes the use of RPA bots in order to secure businesses, especially online retail/e-commerce businesses, from attacks and enhance their cybersecurity. RPA bots achieve automation of repetitive tasks. They do so by using graphical user interface (GUI) elements to replicate human encounters. As a result, they reduce human errors and human exposure to data that is sensitive in nature.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and imrpact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established retail companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of e-commerce robotic process automation.
Key players in e-commerce robotic process 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 e-commerce robotic process automation
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Headwater Research||211||Unlock company profile|
|Headwater Partners I||183||Unlock company profile|
|Broadcom||83||Unlock company profile|
|Endurance International Group Holdings||46||Unlock company profile|
|Illumio||39||Unlock company profile|
|E. Merck||20||Unlock company profile|
|Alphabet||19||Unlock company profile|
|INVIDI Technologies||16||Unlock company profile|
|TransUnion||13||Unlock company profile|
|Avaya Holdings||10||Unlock company profile|
|Verizon Patent And Licensing||7||Unlock company profile|
|Ot Ip Sub||7||Unlock company profile|
|Gogo||6||Unlock company profile|
|Amdocs||6||Unlock company profile|
|Computer Associates International||6||Unlock company profile|
|International Business Machines||5||Unlock company profile|
|Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Leading players in the robotic process automation for e-commerce in terms of patents filed are Headwater Research, Headwater Partners I, Broadcom, Endurance International Group, Illumio, E. Merck, Alphabet, INVIDI Technologies, TransUnion, and Avaya Holdings. In October 2022, Avaya announced a partnership with Uniphore, one of the leading players in conversational artificial intelligence and automation, to enhance its Avaya OneCloud CCaaS platform. Uniphore’s Comprehensive X platform combines robotic process automation, natural language processing (NLP), and automatic speech recognition (ASR).
Leading players in the robotic process automation for e-commerce space in terms of application diversity are INVIDI Technologies, Amdocs, E. Merck, Headwater Research, and Headwater Partners I.
Headwater Partners I, Illumio, E. Merck, INVIDI Technologies, and Gogo are the leaders in terms of geographic reach.
Owing to the operational efficiency added by robotic process automation, many e-commerce companies are likely to partner with technology companies for the deployment of AI and RPA in their supply chains.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cybersecurity in Retail.