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: Urinary incontinence detection 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

Urinary incontinence detection sensors is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Urinary incontinence detection sensors are wireless insertable pressure sensors that can be used to detect and treat urinary incontinence in women. They have the potential to replace conventional methods that require patients to undergo several tests to monitor urinary incontinence which may cause infections and inconvenience.

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 urinary incontinence detection sensors.

Key players in urinary incontinence detection 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 urinary incontinence detection sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Baxter International 109 Unlock company profile
Parasol Medical 34 Unlock company profile
SCA Hygiene Products 30 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 28 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 19 Unlock company profile
Kimberly-Clark 19 Unlock company profile
Ontex Group 18 Unlock company profile
Pixie Scientific 18 Unlock company profile
Medline Industries 11 Unlock company profile
Delta-Fly Pharma 6 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 6 Unlock company profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 6 Unlock company profile
Cardinal Health 5 Unlock company profile
NXP Semiconductors 5 Unlock company profile
Mortara Instrument 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Baxter International is one of the leading patent filers in the field of urinary incontinence detection sensors. Some other key patent filers in the field include Parasol Medical and SCA Hygiene Products.

In terms of application diversity, Delta-Fly Pharma leads the pack, followed by Mortara Instrument and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore. By means of geographic reach, SCA Hygiene Products holds the top position, followed by Kimberly-Clark and Johnson & Johnson in the second and third spots, respectively.

One of the prospects of the field involves developing a smartphone application to upload patient data into an encrypted cloud database that will allow physicians to easily recommend treatment options even from a remote location without losing the focus on maintaining accuracy, safety, and avoiding discomfort.

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.