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 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 Artificial Intelligence in Medical Devices: Smart Ventilators.

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, AI-assisted radiology, motion artefact analysis, and treatment evaluation models are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. MRI image smoothing, AI-assisted EHR/EMR, and AI-assisted CT imaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are computer-assisted surgeries and 3D endoscopy, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the medical devices industry

Smart ventilators is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Smart ventilators are adaptable, IoT-enabled medical equipment that assist or replace a patient's spontaneous breathing. Smart ventilators, which are replacing normal ventilators, operate using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques, allowing healthcare professionals to monitor a patient's condition remotely.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart ventilators.

Key players in smart ventilators – 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 ventilators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
ResMed 143 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 138 Unlock company profile
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 69 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 56 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 52 Unlock company profile
Vyaire Medical 44 Unlock company profile
Dragerwerk 38 Unlock company profile
Air Liquide 32 Unlock company profile
Getinge 31 Unlock company profile
Senzime 26 Unlock company profile
Teijin 24 Unlock company profile
General Electric 24 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 23 Unlock company profile
BMC Medical 18 Unlock company profile
CareFusion 207 11 Unlock company profile
ODP 10 Unlock company profile
Autonomous Healthcare 10 Unlock company profile
Art Medical 10 Unlock company profile
Mermaid Care 10 Unlock company profile
Teleflex 9 Unlock company profile
Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare 9 Unlock company profile
NovaResp Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Apex Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Loewenstein Medical Technology 7 Unlock company profile
Xhale 7 Unlock company profile
Freespira 7 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 7 Unlock company profile
PhysioAssist 6 Unlock company profile
Nihon Kohden 6 Unlock company profile
Linde 6 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 5 Unlock company profile
Omron 5 Unlock company profile
Asahi Kasei 5 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

ResMed is one of the leading patent filers in smart ventilators. Some other leading patent filers include Koninklijke Philips, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Medtronic and Becton Dickinson.

In terms of application diversity, Freespira leads the pack, followed by Linde and Boston Scientific, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Xhale held the top position, followed by Linde and Massachusetts General Hospital in second and third spots, respectively.

Smart ventilators will revolutionize the standards of intensive medical care, dominating conventional ventilators, as they allow anyone to connect the ventilator to a patient, and healthcare professionals can monitor the vitals remotely.

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.