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

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toshiba 98 Unlock company profile
Angel Playing Cards 47 Unlock company profile
Illinois Tool Works 32 Unlock company profile
Extreme Networks 23 Unlock company profile
Trax Technology Solutions 22 Unlock company profile
Accel Robotics 17 Unlock company profile
Walmart 17 Unlock company profile
NCR 16 Unlock company profile
Seven & i 15 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 13 Unlock company profile
TERAOKA SEIKO 13 Unlock company profile
Mettler-Toledo International 8 Unlock company profile
Hefei Midea Intelligent Technology 7 Unlock company profile
SuperSmart 7 Unlock company profile
Midea Group 7 Unlock company profile
LG 5 Unlock company profile
eBay 5 Unlock company profile
Ishida 5 Unlock company profile
Diebold Nixdorf 5 Unlock company profile
Hydra 4 Unlock company profile
Maplebear 4 Unlock company profile
MAGO 4 Unlock company profile 3 Unlock company profile
Focal Systems 3 Unlock company profile
Zebra Technologies 2 Unlock company profile
MSIGHT Technologies 2 Unlock company profile
JPMorgan Chase 2 Unlock company profile
Mettler-Toledo 2 Unlock company profile
Walgreens Boots Alliance 1 Unlock company profile
Quadient 1 Unlock company profile
Meijer 1 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 1 Unlock company profile
Beijing Jingdong Century Trading 1 Unlock company profile
A2Z Smart Technologies 1 Unlock company profile

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.

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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.