The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Medical Devices: Blood glucose sensors.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, ingestible sensors, wireless gastric stimulation devices and remote nerve stimulation devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Dosage monitoring inhalators, programmable infusion pumps, and athletic monitoring sensors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are blood glucose sensors and medical emergency response systems, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the medical devices industry

Blood glucose sensors is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

The sensor used in a glucose monitor is placed underneath the skin to continuously measure blood glucose levels. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes, throughout the day and night. This will help in preventing low/high blood glucose emergencies and need fewer finger pricks. It is inserted by the user and needs to be replaced with a new disposable sensor every seven to ten days.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of blood glucose sensors.

Key players in blood glucose sensors – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to blood glucose sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 430 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 395 Unlock company profile
PHC Holdings 381 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 283 Unlock company profile
DexCom 207 Unlock company profile
Bayer 128 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 100 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 94 Unlock company profile
Nippon Chemi-Con 87 Unlock company profile
BIONIME 76 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 57 Unlock company profile
Intuity Medical 54 Unlock company profile
WaveForm Technologies 51 Unlock company profile
I-Sens 42 Unlock company profile
Sinocare 38 Unlock company profile
Edwards Lifesciences 36 Unlock company profile
Platinum Equity 34 Unlock company profile
Instrumentation Laboratory 32 Unlock company profile
Lifescan Ip Holdings 28 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 28 Unlock company profile
Cue Health 26 Unlock company profile
Terumo 20 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 18 Unlock company profile
ARKRAY USA 18 Unlock company profile
iXensor 17 Unlock company profile
Sano Intelligence 17 Unlock company profile
Uxn 16 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 16 Unlock company profile
Sysmex 15 Unlock company profile
Pepex Biomedical 15 Unlock company profile
STMicroelectronics 14 Unlock company profile
Hygieia 14 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 12 Unlock company profile
Optimum Imaging Diagnostics 11 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 11 Unlock company profile
Dare Bioscience 11 Unlock company profile
Danaher 9 Unlock company profile
Omron 9 Unlock company profile
Ultradian Diagnostics 8 Unlock company profile
NovioSense 7 Unlock company profile
Apple 7 Unlock company profile
Dongwoon Anatech 7 Unlock company profile
Access Bio 7 Unlock company profile
Siemens 6 Unlock company profile
Provigate 6 Unlock company profile
JSR 6 Unlock company profile
Health & Life 6 Unlock company profile
U.S. Department of Defense 6 Unlock company profile
Nova Biomedical 5 Unlock company profile
MiCo BioMed 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F.Hoffmann La-Roche is one of the leading patent filers in the field of blood glucose sensors. Some other key patent filers in the field include Medtronic and PHC Holdings.

In terms of application diversity, Cue Health leads the pack, followed by Dare Bioscience and Apple. By means of geographic reach, Bionime holds the top position, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Apple in the second and third spots, respectively.

The growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and ease of use are improving the future prospects of these devices.  However, development should focus on training endocrinologists on the usage of these devices and making the sensors reusable for providing long-term benefits.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.


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.