Posted: April 14, 2016
Contributing Authors: Martin Bijman
In the spring of 2015, Chipworks published in IAM magazine an article about the IP of IoT, listing IBM, Microsoft, and Samsung as the top IoT patent holders. TechInsights has continued to refine our models of the IP of IoT, particularly about things, gateways, and analytics, and determined an updated ranking. And who is on top? Samsung.
Things, Gateways and Analytics
TechInsights has improved our models in the three areas that are new and growing in IoT: things, gateways, and analytics. Things refer to high volume sensor modules, typically with very low power, and wireless backhaul. Gateways collect the wireless data from IoT things to send the data upstream on the internet. Analytics operates on all such data arriving on the internet, and delivers IoT apps, analysis, and machine learning to find trends in the data, allowing improvements and opportunities.
What is Samsung's IoT Focus?
Samsung has been inventing technologies used in IoT things . . . a lot. Samsung has twice the number of patents and applications next to their closest competitor, which is Sony. In gateways, Samsung is second place in creating inventions, trailing only Qualcomm who provide a platform. And in analytics, they are a solid second tier player, behind the heavyweights Microsoft, Google, and IBM.
Networking, Computing and Storage
In contrast, the remaining IoT technologies (networking, computing, and storage) are established markets, whose IP may already be greatly licensed. For example, in the last six months, among the 378 patent complaints TechInsights has tracked relative to the electronics markets, approximately 33% are regarding these established markets, whereas about 14% are applicable to things and analytics. Virtually no complaints appear to be applicable to models of IoT gateway products.
Samsung is pushing hard into IoT. They are marketing numerous technologies in semiconductors, infrastructure, platforms, and market solutions. Samsung envisions every single product they sell will be connected to IoT by 2020. And they are embracing openness and cross-industry collaboration centered on human usage, the company has said, and reflected by SmartThing, acquired by Samsung in 2014.