Get the latest delivered to your inbox
Privacy Policy

Now Reading

Qualcomm’s 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report: Future Focused Research and Development

Engineering for Human Progress Starts at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm’s 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report: Future Focused Research and Development

Engineering for Human Progress Starts at Qualcomm.

Published 04-19-24

Submitted by Qualcomm Inc.

Two people looking at the same computer screen.

Originally published in Qualcomm's 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report

Investing in R&D We are one of the world’s leading wireless technology innovators and have a long history of investing heavily in R&D. We have developed foundational technologies, including CDMA and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDMA), and we are a driving force behind the development, launch and expansion of 5G and 5G Advanced. Our technologies help drive the continued evolution of the wireless industry.

“We are already working on establishing the technical foundation for 6G — the next-generation mobile platform coming in 2030 and beyond.”

The worldwide demand for wireless devices, data services and applications require continuous innovation to support new services, increase network capacity, make use of different frequency bands, allow for dense network deployments and improve user experiences. The wireless communications industry is also characterized by rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, frequent new product introductions and, with the use of 5G, the expansion into new industries or applications, such as automotive and IoT.

Staying at the forefront of so much change requires a continuous effort to enhance existing and develop new products and technologies. For decades, our inventors have been solving complex, systems-level problems and conducting pioneering research that is years ahead of the industry and often a decade in advance of commercialization. This approach has been continuously recognized and we have received awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the White House, the European Patent Office and many more.

We are already working on establishing the technical foundation for 6G — the next-generation mobile platform coming in 2030 and beyond. 6G is expected to allow service providers to continue serving the ever-growing demand for data speed, while also opening new service categories powered by physical-digital convergence and devices powered with ambient energy. While we are still quite a few years away from commercial launches of the 6G platform, we are certain of one thing: 6G will bring technology leaps, new experiences, and use cases that we can barely imagine today.

Our fundamental research and comprehensive approach to AI helps enable us to be a leader in on-device AI solutions. The Qualcomm® AI Engine, featured in our Snapdragon platforms and many of our other products provides high-performance on-device AI solutions at extremely low power to support complex use cases, while enhancing privacy and security. The Qualcomm® AI Stack is a unified AI software portfolio designed to help developers optimize and deploy AI models quickly using our chipset solutions by supporting AI frameworks and runtimes, developer libraries, system software and popular operating systems.

We are also a leading innovator in video, audio and speech compression technologies and system-level solutions enabling featurerich, high-quality experiences in imaging, audio and vision intelligence. We are a primary contributor to the advancement of video compression performance, including contributions to the H.265/HEVC standard (deployed to support Ultra High Definition 4K and beyond video) and the next generation H.266/VVC standard, which are designed to power the creation and consumption of richer, immersive media experiences.

We have developed significant multimedia technologies, including camera and imaging technologies, vision intelligence technologies enabling use cases such as smart image processing, augmented reality (AR)/VR and robotics, visual augmentation and frameworks and audio frameworks. These last two allow for human-machine interfaces, speech compression innovations, spatial audio processing and coding enabling compression and rendering of immersive audio.

To enable the necessary continuous evolution, we have made significant, long-term investments in R&D — with nearly 22 percent of revenues invested since 2006. Our investment already exceeds more than $85B — resulting in more than 160,000 patents and patent applications and more than 35 years of innovation in chipsets, software, services and integrated platform solutions. We have R&D centers in several locations throughout the world but primarily in U.S., India, Europe and China.

The intellectual property (IP) developed and acquired through our R&D efforts has been incorporated into the most widely accepted and deployed cellular wireless communications technology standards, and we have licensed it to several hundred customers and key non-handset suppliers, such as automotive and IoT.

Just as we make long strides in our R&D efforts to drive leading contributions to technologies powering the connected intelligent edge, we make investments to drive growth in countries and industries. We help broader technology ecosystems flourish by being a trusted knowledge advisor in spectrum selection and 5G development, deployment and commercialization, by supporting startups around the world, developing research collaborations and offering technical and IP rights training programs.

Since our founding, we have supported innovative academic research with a range of university programs. We help the academic community to develop new ideas and solutions in a broad range of technological research areas at leading universities around the world. Annually, we engage with more than 100 research faculty, award more than 50 student research fellowships and sponsor more than 70 academic conferences and academia initiatives. In our engagements with academia, we share our expertise and our Qualcomm development platforms and tools across a range of technologies to facilitate research and encourage talent development. Collaborations with academia this past year included developing offline reinforcement learning on devices for vast applications of robotics and autonomous vehicles. The common goal has been to develop improvements for devices to sense, perceive, localize and make real-time decisions in real world environments.

We also support regional innovation through incubation and mentorship programs that cultivate promising startups in vital technology areas. We offer engineering guidance and lab assistance for, business coaching and IP trainings to help startups grow and prosper into successful technology businesses. Our programs — which take no equity in the incubated startups — have a proven record of helping startups commercialize their products and services, receive venture funding, file patent applications and expand their business beyond their home countries. Our incubation and mentorship programs are complemented by other Company programs that support startups at different levels of their lifecycles.

These Company-supported programs have incubated or mentored over 226 startups since 2016 in emerging regions, particularly those with an intensifying design talent pool, growing supply chain and local manufacturing expertise. These include India, Taiwan and Vietnam, or regions witnessing rapid adoption of digital technologies such as Africa. Harnessing advanced cellular communication (4G and 5G) and advanced computing technology (including hybrid AI), these startups have developed end-to-end IoT applications for regionally relevant products and services in healthcare, smart cities, agricultural technology, smart homes, automotive, advanced computing, semiconductor design, mixed reality (XR), wearables, robotics and drones.

In addition to tech mentorship, we provide the startups training on the importance of securing IP rights. Cumulatively, the startups we have supported have filed more than 710 patent applications in regional and international patent offices, including 412 patents filings from Indian organizations, 269 from Taiwan and 29 from Vietnam.

We also work with partners across the mobile ecosystem through our Qualcomm Academy, an industry-leading virtual education platform. In 2023, the academy supported more than 25,000 training courses – such as teaching handset original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) concepts that underpin 5G or explaining the technical benefits of millimeter wave technology. The courses are offered to university students, industry professionals and Qualcomm employees.

Learn more about how Qualcomm is driving innovation, societal advancement and sustainability in the 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report

Qualcomm Inc. Logo

Qualcomm Inc.

Qualcomm Inc.

More from Qualcomm Inc.

Join today and get the latest delivered to your inbox