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: Smart Wireless Physiological 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

Smart wireless physiological sensors are a key emerging innovation area in Internet of Things

Smart wireless physiological sensors aid in tracking vital indicators, such as heart/respiration rate, blood pressure, and saturation levels. These wireless devices are ideal for both hospital and remote patient monitoring. These devices are generally non-invasive and are found in a wearable such as watch, or patients’ clothing.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart wireless physiological sensors.

Key players in smart wireless physiological 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 smart wireless physiological sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
DexCom 945 Unlock company profile
Heartflow 366 Unlock company profile
Valencell 122 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 102 Unlock company profile
ResMed 64 Unlock company profile
Omni MedSci 52 Unlock company profile
Waters 45 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 42 Unlock company profile
Labrador Diagnostics 35 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 29 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 28 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 26 Unlock company profile
PT Soho Global Health 24 Unlock company profile
NIKE 24 Unlock company profile
Everist Genomics 24 Unlock company profile
Braebon Medical 24 Unlock company profile
InfoBionic 24 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 22 Unlock company profile
CorVista Health 18 Unlock company profile
T2 Biosystems 18 Unlock company profile
Nestle 17 Unlock company profile
Sanmina 16 Unlock company profile
Carl Data Solutions 16 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 16 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 15 Unlock company profile
Delos Living 15 Unlock company profile
Aliphcom 15 Unlock company profile
Canon 14 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 13 Unlock company profile
Teijin 13 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 13 Unlock company profile
Digimarc 13 Unlock company profile
460Medical 12 Unlock company profile
Mobisante 12 Unlock company profile
Venturis Therapeutics 12 Unlock company profile
Elekta 11 Unlock company profile
Pentland Group Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Siemens 10 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 10 Unlock company profile
Stryker 10 Unlock company profile
Spectral MD Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
Epicore Biosystems 10 Unlock company profile
Geelux Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
Resonea 9 Unlock company profile
YourBio Health 9 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 9 Unlock company profile
Reliant Immune Diagnostics 8 Unlock company profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 8 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 8 Unlock company profile
Psomagen 8 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

DexCom is one of the leading patent filers in the market for smart wireless physiological sensors. Some other leading patent filers include Heartflow and Valencell.

In terms of application diversity, NIKE leads the pack, followed by T2 Biosystems and Psomagen. By means of geographic reach, Teijin holds the top position, followed by Carl Data Solutions and Everist Genomics in the second and third spots, respectively.

Smart wireless physiological sensors cater to long-term monitoring of an individual's health. Factors such as technological advancements in healthcare monitoring, affordability, and increasing awareness for health and fitness, are boosting wearable wireless sensor usage among individuals, which will further drive the market.

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.