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 in technologies, such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalization. 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: Interactive fitness trainers.

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

Interactive fitness trainers is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Interactive fitness trainers use live streaming via smartphones, tablets, laptops, or even televisions for training purposes. Users can view a live stream of the trainer and vice versa, allowing the trainer to demonstrate exercises, motivate, and monitor the user’s form to ensure that exercises are proper and injury-free.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of interactive fitness trainers.

Key players in interactive fitness trainers – 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 interactive fitness trainers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Lululemon Athletica 57 Unlock company profile
NIKE 42 Unlock company profile
LG 29 Unlock company profile
Isolynx 28 Unlock company profile
adidas 27 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 25 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 24 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 20 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 14 Unlock company profile
AlterG 14 Unlock company profile
Apple 12 Unlock company profile
TritonWear 11 Unlock company profile
EW Healthcare Partners 10 Unlock company profile
System Instruments 9 Unlock company profile
MindMaze 7 Unlock company profile
Hospital Clinic of Barcelona 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Lululemon Athletica and NIKE are two of the leading patent filers in interactive fitness trainers. Some other leading patent filers include LG, Isolynx, adidas, Koninklijke Philips, ROM Technologies and Toyota Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Apple leads the pack, followed by Lululemon Athletica and Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. With regards to geographic reach, Apple holds the top position, followed by EW Healthcare Partners and NIKE in the second and third spots, respectively.

The rising urbanisation is changing the lifestyle and tastes of mass consumers. The chaotic and stressful city life has resulted in an increase in health consciousness, compelling people to join health clubs to stay healthy and fit. The future of interactive fitness trainers looks promising as people are getting more aware of fitness and striving towards a healthier lifestyle.

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.