The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity being 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 Innovation in construction: building management systems. 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, waterproof floor drains, and construction 3D printing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart glazing, regeneration control hydraulics, and floating breakwaters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wall surface temperature controls and embossed floor panels, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Building management systems is a key innovation area in construction

Building management systems (BMS) are automated systems that are designed to control, monitor, and optimize the various systems and processes within a building, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, security, and energy usage. They provide a centralized platform for managing and analyzing data related to the building's operations, making it easier for facility managers to make informed decisions to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and increase comfort.

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 120 companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of building management systems.

Key players in building management systems – 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 building management systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson Controls International 430 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 125 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 98 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 91 Unlock Company Profile
Kip Prod P1 86 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 42 Unlock Company Profile
LG 42 Unlock Company Profile
Resideo Technologies 40 Unlock Company Profile
Edison Labs 32 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 32 Unlock Company Profile
Earth Networks 30 Unlock Company Profile
OrCam Technologies 30 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 29 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 27 Unlock Company Profile
Daikin Industries 24 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 24 Unlock Company Profile
View 23 Unlock Company Profile
Enel 21 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 21 Unlock Company Profile
Delta Electronics 18 Unlock Company Profile
Ormat Technologies 18 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sense Labs 16 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 16 Unlock Company Profile
Green Power Labs 16 Unlock Company Profile
Centrica 16 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 15 Unlock Company Profile
EnerAllies 15 Unlock Company Profile
iRobot 14 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 14 Unlock Company Profile
Passivelogic 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Barghest Building Performance Pte., 12 Unlock Company Profile
Bidgely 12 Unlock Company Profile
SVB Financial Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 12 Unlock Company Profile
Schindler 12 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 10 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 10 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Electronics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 9 Unlock Company Profile
Somfy 9 Unlock Company Profile
Savant Systems 9 Unlock Company Profile
Lennox International 9 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 9 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 9 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 8 Unlock Company Profile
Eren Groupe 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading companies in the development of building management systems include Johnson Controls International, a maker of electronic and HVAC equipment that includes batteries, building automation, equipment, and control systems. Key Johnson Controls innovations include the development of a building manager system that integrates with a smart energy grid to optimize demand response. The building manager includes a fault detection and diagnostics layer, allowing it to use statistical analysis on inputs received from the integrated control layer to detect and diagnose faults. The building manager also includes a demand response layer configured to process the information received from the smart energy grid to determine adjustments to the control algorithms of the integrated control layer.

In terms of application diversity, Kip Prod P1 leads the pack, while Centrica and Green Power Labs stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance held the top position, followed by Kip Prod P1 and OrCam Technologies.

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