Mapping Technological Trajectories and Exploring Knowledge Sources: A Case Study of E-Payment Technologies

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Technological Forecasting and Social Change

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Technology trajectory provides valuable information on technological development and its potential impact. This study takes E-Payment technology as an example by presenting the technological development trajectory, and by exploring the contribution of knowledge sources from different regions and various technical fields. In the process of technological trajectory evolution, different trajectory phenomena will appear in different periods, such as convergence, lock-in, and dominance in technological development. To find out the phenomenon of electronic payment technology trajectory, this study uses a patent database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a data source. It uses keywords to conduct a patent search, a patent citation data set is established, and the main path analysis (MPA) is performed. According to the research results, the E-payment industry technology is dominated by the United States from the country's patent ownership perspective. The combination of American Qualcomm and Firethorn Mobile has the key technology leading position on the main path of technological development. From the perspective of patentees, VISA and MasterCard have invested the most in technology R&D to show their leading position in future technology development. According to the main path analysis of patents, the research results showed that from the year 1983 to the year 2007, technology had developed diversified, and knowledge flow in related technical fields had already expanded. In the year 2008, technological development changed with technological fusion, and the technology was locked in. After 2013, a patent for “identity verification” on transaction security appeared on the key main path. After the emergence of this core patent technology, a technological explosion occurred. Various technologies developed rapidly during this period and had continued to occur so far. Since 2008, the number of patent announcements has been in a stage of high technological growth so it can be regarded as the growth stage of the technology life cycle. In addition to the main technical analysis, payment security is the core technology of the entire payment industry. Near-field communications (NFC) technology has the most critical development trend among the related technologies developed, followed by cloud computing-related technologies.


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