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: Wireless Hearing aid. Buy the report here.

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

Wireless hearing aid is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Wireless hearing aids are devices that help patient with hearing disabilities through the use of modern wireless technology. Owing to their better sound quality and ability to provide binaural hearing and a personalised listening experience, wireless hearing aids are steadily replacing the conventional hearing aids without bluetooth.

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of wireless hearing aid.

Key players in wireless hearing aid – 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 wireless hearing aid

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koss 85 Unlock company profile
Bragi 57 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Voxtech 47 Unlock company profile
Bose 47 Unlock company profile
Apple 46 Unlock company profile
Starkey Hearing Technologies 41 Unlock company profile
Demant 33 Unlock company profile
Sonova Holding 32 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 30 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 28 Unlock company profile
Finewell 28 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 21 Unlock company profile
Geelux Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Eargo 16 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Goodix Technology 15 Unlock company profile
ROHM 14 Unlock company profile
Sonitus Medical 13 Unlock company profile
GN Store Nord 12 Unlock company profile
Knowles 12 Unlock company profile
Intel 11 Unlock company profile
Valencell 11 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 10 Unlock company profile
USound 10 Unlock company profile
EM-Tech 9 Unlock company profile
LG 9 Unlock company profile
Investment Latour 9 Unlock company profile 8 Unlock company profile
Amotech 8 Unlock company profile
EarLens 7 Unlock company profile
EssilorLuxottica 7 Unlock company profile
GN Netcom 7 Unlock company profile
Olive Union 6 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Roper Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Resaphene Suisse 6 Unlock company profile
GoerTek 5 Unlock company profile
NXP Semiconductors 5 Unlock company profile
GuangDong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications 5 Unlock company profile
Dolby Laboratories 5 Unlock company profile
HP 5 Unlock company profile
CVF 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koss is one of the leading patent filers in the field of wireless hearing aids. Some other key patent filers in the field include Bragi and Bose.

In terms of application diversity, Fujifilm Holdings leads the pack, followed by Valencell and Bose. By means of geographic reach, Sonitus Medical holds the top position, followed by ROHM and Valencell in the second and third spots, respectively.

Future efforts should focus on collaboration across many fields such as psychoacoustics, signal processing, and clinical audiology. Also, further research related to connectivity and individuality will pave the way for more accurate and user-friendly solutions.

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

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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.