Technology forecasting (TF) is forecasting the future state of a technology. It is exciting to know the future of technologies, because technology changes the way we live and enhances the quality of our lives. In particular, TF is an important area in the management of technology (MOT) for R&D strategy and new product development. Consequently, there are many studies on TF. Patent analysis is one method of TF because patents contain substantial information regarding developed technology. The conventional methods of patent analysis are based on quantitative approaches such as statistics and machine learning. The most traditional TF methods based on patent analysis have a common problem. It is the sparsity of patent keyword data structured from collected patent documents. After preprocessing with text mining techniques, most frequencies of technological keywords in patent data have values of zero. This problem creates a disadvantage for the performance of TF, and we have trouble analyzing patent keyword data. To solve this problem, we propose an interval estimation method (IEM). Using an adjusted Wald confidence interval called the Agresti–Coull confidence interval, we construct our IEM for efficient TF. In addition, we apply the proposed method to forecast the technology of an innovative company. To show how our work can be applied in the real domain, we conduct a case study using Apple technology.
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