The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and productivity, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Virtual and augmented reality in construction: 3D virtual walkthroughBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 232,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the construction industry, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

3D virtual walkthrough is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality

A 3D Virtual Walkthrough is a digital simulation offering a comprehensive visual experience of a virtual space or environment. Crafted through 3D modeling, computer-aided design software, and computer graphics, this walkthrough can be interactive, enabling users to navigate through the virtual space and view it from different perspectives. It presents an immersive digital encounter, allowing users to explore a 3D representation of either a real or virtual space. Leveraging advanced computer graphics and technologies like virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), a 3D virtual walkthrough creates a realistic and interactive environment that closely mimics the physical world. Distinguishing itself from traditional 2D walkthroughs or presentations, this format provides a heightened level of immersion and engagement. As 3D virtual walkthrough technologies continue to progress, they are becoming more accessible and are increasingly adopted across diverse industries, fundamentally altering how we design, experience, and interact with various spaces.

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 650 companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of 3D virtual walkthrough.

Key players in 3D virtual walkthrough – a disruptive innovation in the construction 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 3D virtual walkthrough

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sony Group 763 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 752 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 537 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 390 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 364 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 243 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 158 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 157 Unlock Company Profile
Snap 139 Unlock Company Profile
Tencent 134 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 115 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 112 Unlock Company Profile
LG 97 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 84 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 82 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 71 Unlock Company Profile
Walt Disney 66 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment 64 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 64 Unlock Company Profile
Vantiva 57 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 57 Unlock Company Profile
InterDigital 55 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 53 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 49 Unlock Company Profile 49 Unlock Company Profile
Comcast 46 Unlock Company Profile
ADOBE 45 Unlock Company Profile
COLOPL 45 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 44 Unlock Company Profile
Niantic 42 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 42 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications 37 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 36 Unlock Company Profile
HTC 35 Unlock Company Profile
Thales 35 Unlock Company Profile
Empire Technologies 35 Unlock Company Profile
Metail 35 Unlock Company Profile 35 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 35 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 32 Unlock Company Profile
Levi Strauss 32 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 31 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 29 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 28 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 28 Unlock Company Profile
Baobab Studios 26 Unlock Company Profile
Intuitive Surgical 26 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 26 Unlock Company Profile
Ultrahaptics 25 Unlock Company Profile
Globus Medical 25 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sony Group is the leading patent filer in 3D virtual walkthrough technologies, followed by Magic Leap and Microsoft.

Magic Leap is a pioneering technology company specializing in the development of human computing interfaces and software. Focused on light field display technologies, Magic Leap excels in creating virtual animations and virtual reality experiences. The company offers the Magic Leap One Creator Edition headset, positioning itself as a next computing platform that seamlessly blends the physical and digital worlds. Magic Leap empowers web developers to create spatial browsing, extract content, and design and play games.

Collaborating with research centers, technology providers, and production houses in film and television, Magic Leap serves diverse sectors, including healthcare, retail, sports, and entertainment in the US. Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, the company is a trailblazer in augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies.

Magic Leap is actively involved in pioneering research and development efforts in 3D virtual walkthrough technologies. Recognizing the transformative potential of these technologies in applications such as architecture, real estate, engineering, and training, the company is driving innovation. Magic Leap's research endeavors in 3D virtual walkthrough technologies focus on creating more immersive, interactive, and collaborative virtual walkthrough experiences. The company's dedication to high-fidelity environments, robust spatial mapping, interactive functionalities, and seamless integration with design software is expanding the horizons of 3D virtual walkthroughs across various industries, reshaping how individuals interact with and experience virtual spaces.

In terms of application diversity, Levi Strauss leads the pack, while Stryker and Kyocera stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Levi Strauss held the top position, followed by Baobab Studios and Stryker.

Kyocera is a leading provider of electronic equipment and components, offering a diverse product portfolio that includes ceramic components, semiconductor parts, mobile phones, electronic devices, and telecommunications and information equipment. These products cater to a wide range of applications in fields such as environmental protection, energy generation, telecommunications, and information processing. Kyocera serves individuals, corporations, governments, and governmental agencies, operating research and development facilities in Japan and the US, along with manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Recognizing the transformative potential of 3D virtual walkthrough technologies in areas such as architecture, real estate, engineering, and manufacturing, Kyocera is actively involved in research and development in this domain. The company's efforts focus on advancing the precision, immersion, and application-specific aspects of 3D virtual walkthrough experiences. With a commitment to high-resolution 3D modeling, LiDAR-based localization, integration of haptic feedback, and applications in industrial settings, Kyocera aims to expand the utilization of 3D virtual walkthroughs. This research is contributing to a paradigm shift in how individuals interact with and experience virtual environments across various industries.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Augmented Reality (AR) in Construction.

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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.