The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by innovative marketing techniques the move to customer-centric strategies, and the growing importance of technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), beacons, artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and autonomous security robots. In the last three years alone, there have been over 156,000 patents filed and granted in the retail industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in retail: in-store theft monitoring. Buy the report here.
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 stabilizing 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.
50+ 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 115,000 patents, there are 50+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, automated self-service kiosks and in-store theft monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic warehouse management, autonomous delivery vehicle navigation systems, and interactive vending kiosks are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are NFC product tagging and smart PoS systems, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the retail industry
In-store theft monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things
In-store theft monitoring employs various technologies, including weighing devices, to detect and prevent product theft within retail establishments. These devices play a crucial role by measuring the weight of items on store shelves both before and after purchase, identifying any disparities that might signal theft. Additionally, they utilize RFID tags and other identifiers to monitor products, ensuring that they do not exit the store without proper payment, effectively reducing incidents of theft and enhancing security measures.
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 in-store theft monitoring.
Key players in in-store theft monitoring – a disruptive innovation in the retail industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to in-store theft monitoring
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Leading patent filers in the in-store theft monitoring space include Toshiba, Angel Playing Cards (which focuses on gaming chip protection), Illinois Tool Works, and Walmart. The American retail giant, Walmart collaborates with technology firms to develop and implement advanced surveillance systems to enhance the monitoring of in-store theft prevention. The system uses advanced technologies, including RFID tags, facial recognition cameras, autonomous security robots, and sensors to track and scrutinize activities at both self-checkout stations and those manned by Walmart's cashier staff.
In terms of application diversity, Angel Playing Cards leads the pack, while Maplebear and MAGO stand in the second and third positions, respectively.
By geographic reach, Angel Playing Cards held the top spot, followed by Trax Technology Solutions and Accel Robotics.
In-store theft monitoring through IoT is a vital tool for enhancing both loss prevention and operational efficiency in a digitally connected retail landscape. It enables retailers to proactively respond to theft incidents, reducing losses and improving overall security.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the retail industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Retail and Apparel.