Research and innovation in digitalisation in the ship equipment supply, product and services sector is on the rise.

The most recent figures show that the number of digitalisation related patent applications in the industry stood at 33 in the three months ending February – up from 29 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to digitalisation followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 21 in the three months ending February 2021 to 16 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Digitalisation is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

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The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Uber Technologies was the top digitalisation innovator in the ship equipment supply, product and services sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the US, filed 66 digitalisation related patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 30 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by US-based companies FedEx with 12 digitalisation patent applications, Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies with 6 applications and United Parcel Service with 6 applications.

FedEx has recently ramped up R&D in digitalisation. It saw growth of 75% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the ship equipment supply, product and services sector.