The retail industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by data analytics, e-commerce, and supply chain risk management and the growing importance of technologies such as augmented, virtual and mixed reality. 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: smart PoS systems. Buy the report here.

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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

Smart PoS systems is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Smart Point of Sale (PoS) systems are operable anywhere in the store and go beyond checkout applications to allow retailers to update inventory, track shopper preferences and complete sale and payment transactions.

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 smart PoS systems.

Key players in smart PoS systems – 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 smart PoS systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toshiba 175 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 113 Unlock Company Profile
Catalina Marketing 18 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 17 Unlock Company Profile
Block 15 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 13 Unlock Company Profile
Glory 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mastercard 11 Unlock Company Profile
afterBOT 10 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 9 Unlock Company Profile
Western Union 7 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 7 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 6 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 5 Unlock Company Profile
Bixolon 4 Unlock Company Profile
Datamax-O'Neil 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hyosung 4 Unlock Company Profile
SmartBins 4 Unlock Company Profile
Intuit 4 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi 4 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 4 Unlock Company Profile
PayPal 4 Unlock Company Profile
Worldline 3 Unlock Company Profile
Cellfire 3 Unlock Company Profile
Blackhawk Network 2 Unlock Company Profile
Gpcp Ip 2 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 2 Unlock Company Profile
NCR 2 Unlock Company Profile
Star Manufacturing 2 Unlock Company Profile
JPMorgan Chase 2 Unlock Company Profile
Innoviti Payment Solutions 2 Unlock Company Profile
China UnionPay 2 Unlock Company Profile
TransactionTree 2 Unlock Company Profile
Copper 2 Unlock Company Profile
Giesecke+Devrient 1 Unlock Company Profile
Star Micronics 1 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

The leading players in the smart PoS systems space in terms of patents filed for retail industry are Toshiba, Seiko Epson, Catalina Marketing, and Visa. Toshiba, a leading retail technology provider, recently partnered with BlueStar to take advantage of its reseller network to expand its POS systems to more retailers as they face the need to make digital transformations.

Bixolon is the leading company in smart PoS systems, while Datamax-O'Neil and Gpcp are in the second and third positions, respectively.

By geographic reach, afterBOT leads the pack, followed by Catalina Marketing and Visa.

Smart PoS systems can be deployed to more with technology developments such as providing advanced security & compliance, streamlining business operations as well as providing a seamless experience for shoppers and retail staff.

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.