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: Athletic Monitoring Sensors. Buy the report here.

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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

Athletic monitoring sensors is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Athletic monitoring sensors comprise wearable and non-wearable sensors, such as cameras, as well as wearable sensors such as heart rate and blood pressure monitors. As people continue to look to track their fitness in real time, these sensors will continue to grow and with their use becoming common across most fitness equipment going forward.

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 athletic monitoring sensors.

Key players in athletic monitoring 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 athletic monitoring sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 175 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 63 Unlock Company Profile
Lululemon Athletica 61 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 55 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 48 Unlock Company Profile
Polar Electro 35 Unlock Company Profile
Isolynx 35 Unlock Company Profile
Amer Sports 32 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 27 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Data Solutions 23 Unlock Company Profile
Pentland Group Holdings 22 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 22 Unlock Company Profile
Garmin 21 Unlock Company Profile
BreatheVision 21 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 17 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 16 Unlock Company Profile
dorsaVi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 14 Unlock Company Profile
uLikeKorea 14 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 12 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 11 Unlock Company Profile
TritonWear 11 Unlock Company Profile
Laerdal Medical 10 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 9 Unlock Company Profile
Heard Systems 9 Unlock Company Profile
Owlet Baby Care 8 Unlock Company Profile
Swatch Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sparta Software 7 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 7 Unlock Company Profile
Aliphcom 7 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 7 Unlock Company Profile
ViOptix 6 Unlock Company Profile
Merck & Co 6 Unlock Company Profile
Fitscript 6 Unlock Company Profile
Epicore Biosystems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Intersections 6 Unlock Company Profile
X2 Biosystems 6 Unlock Company Profile
smaXtec animal care 5 Unlock Company Profile
Smith & Nephew 5 Unlock Company Profile
LifeSignals 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 5 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 5 Unlock Company Profile
MAD Apparel 5 Unlock Company Profile
JSR 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in the field of athletic monitoring sensors. Some other key patent filers in the field include adidas, Lululemon Athletica, Koninklijke Philips, and Samsung Group.

In terms of application diversity, Asahi Kasei leads the pack, followed by Fitscript and smaXtech. By means of geographic reach, NIKE held the top position, followed by Amer Sports and Laerdal Medical in second and third spots, respectively.

Athletic monitoring sensors allow athletes to better monitor their health status and help determine how they can train and compete. These sensors also allow healthcare professionals to diagnose any challenges and provide timely treatment.  Owing to the fact that these devices are valuable for the improvement of athletes’ performance, the market for these sensors is expected to grow.

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.