The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. In the last three years alone, there have been over 425,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental sustainability in construction: atmospheric water harvesting. 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 stabilizing 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.

80+ innovations will shape the construction industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the construction industry using innovation intensity models built on over 232,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, self-healing concrete, atmospheric water harvesting, and recycled concrete fillers are the disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG), eco-friendly HVACs and recycled waste-based cements are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wall surface temperature controls, which is now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the construction industry

Atmospheric water harvesting is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

With building and construction works requiring significant amounts of water, new technologies focused on atmospheric water harvesting to collect water from the air can help to reduce demand for mains water, enhancing the environmental sustainability of construction activities.

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 420+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of atmospheric water harvesting.

Key players in atmospheric water harvesting – a disruptive innovation in the construction industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to atmospheric water harvesting

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Watergen 54 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 43 Unlock Company Profile
SOURCE Global, PBC 42 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 40 Unlock Company Profile
Genesis Systems 25 Unlock Company Profile
Totetu Manufacturing 23 Unlock Company Profile
Lta 23 Unlock Company Profile
China State Construction Engineering 22 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 22 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 20 Unlock Company Profile
Zero Mass Water 19 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 18 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 18 Unlock Company Profile
Shandong Sunway Landscape Technology 17 Unlock Company Profile
Ford Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
POSCO 15 Unlock Company Profile
Fresenius Medical Care 14 Unlock Company Profile
Water Harvesting 14 Unlock Company Profile
Dongguan Lianzhou Intellectual Property Operation Management 13 Unlock Company Profile
Exaeris Water Innovations 12 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 12 Unlock Company Profile
Island Sky 12 Unlock Company Profile
Healixa 11 Unlock Company Profile
Marelli 11 Unlock Company Profile
Porsche Automobil 10 Unlock Company Profile
Power Construction Corporation of China 10 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 10 Unlock Company Profile
Guizhou Transportation Planning Survey and Design Academe 10 Unlock Company Profile
Agilitas Partners 10 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
South East Water 9 Unlock Company Profile
Orbia Advance 9 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 9 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kotobuki Realty 8 Unlock Company Profile
Atlaspco 8 Unlock Company Profile
China Architecture Design & Research Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Arup Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 7 Unlock Company Profile
Dutch Rainmaker 7 Unlock Company Profile
ACO Severin Ahlmann 7 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 7 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 7 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Hongrun Environmental Protection Technology 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kessel 7 Unlock Company Profile
Frankische Rohrwerke Gebr Kirchner 7 Unlock Company Profile
Whirlpool 6 Unlock Company Profile
Deere 6 Unlock Company Profile
KSB 6 Unlock Company Profile
Zhao Yang Geotechnic 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Watergen is the leading filer in the development and implementation of atmospheric water harvesting solutions, using its patented GENius technology.

Other leading patent filers include SOURCE Global, Siemens, and Genesis Systems. The latter’s liquid-based technologies are stated to be capable of generating mass water from the air at daily volumes ranging up to 100 million gallons.

In terms of application diversity, the top position is held by Fresenius Medical Care, followed by Panasonic and Healixa. By means of geographic reach, Lta holds the top position, followed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Kobe Steel.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research reports on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Construction.

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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.