Mumbai: The $108 billion conglomerate Tata group has doubled its published patents in two years, from about 3,500 at the end of calendar year 2013 to about 7,000 at the end of 2015.

In calendar year 2015 alone, Tata companies filed more than 2,000 published patents in India and international jurisdictions.

Mukund Rajan, member, group executive council and brand custodian at Tata Sons Ltd, said the estimated financial benefit of the most promising of these innovations for the salt-to-software group was about $1 billion on an annual basis.

These patents are primarily in the area of computation and data processing, materials, coating, casting and vehicle propulsion, communications, engines, hybrids, fuels and controls.

Investments in research and development (R&D) accounted for 2.7% of the group’s turnover in 2014-15, amounting to 17,896 crore or $2.9 billion.

It has implemented more than 1,900 innovations, representing an increase of more than 10%.

Tata group has over 100 independent operating companies. There were 29 publicly listed Tata group companies with a combined market capitalization of about $116.41 billion as of 31 March.

Tata group has created a new consortium model of delivering technology, which seeks to tap the synergies between Tata companies to create breakthrough innovations by setting up a Group Technology & Innovation Office (GTIO).

Under this model, new products and services will be delivered by collaborative efforts of Tata companies working in a consortium mode with a formal memorandum of understanding.

The GTIO has implemented this model by nurturing so-called global first solutions in four focus areas—energy, food & wellness, digital consumer products and services, and digital factory and fleets.

“The global first solutions being developed collaboratively by Tata companies, and the doubling of published patents in two years, are clear indicators of the group’s diverse competencies and cross-functional talent spread across its over 100 companies. The new consortium model for technology development spearheaded by the GTIO is an example of how the group is using its parenting advantage to nurture, synergize and optimize these competencies towards creating competitive advantage and long-term sustainable profitable growth," Rajan said.

Gopichand Katragadda, group chief technology officer, Tata Sons, said Tata companies continue to mature on intellectual property creation with a significant uptick of patenting activity in the past two years.

“At the group level, we have created new internal and external collaboration mechanisms to deliver breakthrough innovations at the intersection of technologies," Katragadda said, adding the group is open to monetizing innovations and is looking for tie-ups in soft robotics and other areas.

Tata group is in the process of developing wrist devices for two very different market spaces—yoga practitioners and factory workers.

The wearables will track breathing patterns, alertness and other metrics for yoga enthusiasts, while it will help detect mishaps on plant floors for factory workers. It is currently being tested among crane workers at Tata Steel Ltd.

Tata group is also betting big on advanced technologies such as graphene for phones, hydrogen fuel cells and drones, though it’s starting small. Referring to the commercialization of such innovations, Katragadda said the wearables should hit the market first, followed by graphene and hydrogen fuel cells.

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