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: vacuum insulated glazing (VIG). 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 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 is wall surface temperature controls, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the construction industry

Vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Vacuum insulated glazing is an advanced type of insulated glass panel consisting of two glass panes separated by a vacuum-filled space. This design aims to achieve exceptional thermal insulation by eliminating heat transfer through the panel. Unlike conventional double-glazed windows using air or inert gas, VIG's vacuum technology provides up to five times better insulation that results in superior thermal performance, reducing energy consumption and enhancing indoor comfort. With its slim profile, VIG suits diverse architectural applications while preventing moisture buildup, minimizing condensation risks, and improving soundproofing compared to traditional double-glazed windows.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vacuum insulated glazing.

Key players in vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) – 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 vacuum insulated glazing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Panasonic 693 Unlock Company Profile
KGIC Merger 606 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 296 Unlock Company Profile
VKR 188 Unlock Company Profile
AGC Glass Europe 171 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Sheet Glass 152 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 143 Unlock Company Profile
Luoyang Landglass Technology 128 Unlock Company Profile
LG 116 Unlock Company Profile
Cardinal Glass Industries 93 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 91 Unlock Company Profile
Guardian Europe 49 Unlock Company Profile
View 43 Unlock Company Profile
Dover 38 Unlock Company Profile
3M 37 Unlock Company Profile
Resonac 31 Unlock Company Profile
Prince International 30 Unlock Company Profile
Eversealed Windows 24 Unlock Company Profile
Yazaki 23 Unlock Company Profile
Grenzebach Maschinenbau 17 Unlock Company Profile
Infinite Edge Technologies 17 Unlock Company Profile
Research Frontiers 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Technoform Glass Insulation 13 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 11 Unlock Company Profile
SAES Getters 10 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 10 Unlock Company Profile
LISEC Austria 9 Unlock Company Profile
Eagon Windows & Doors 9 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 9 Unlock Company Profile
GED Integrated Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Huntsman 7 Unlock Company Profile
Qingdao Hengda Glass Technology 6 Unlock Company Profile
Nat Univ Pusan Ind Univ Coop Found 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mechem Lab 6 Unlock Company Profile
3G Capital 6 Unlock Company Profile
Changsha Xingna Aerogel 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tangent Solutions India 5 Unlock Company Profile
V-glass 5 Unlock Company Profile
Forel 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hall Labs 4 Unlock Company Profile
Glas Troesch 4 Unlock Company Profile
Anhui Meiwo Door & Window Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Changshu Sedy Inlay Glass Products 3 Unlock Company Profile
Bsh Electrical Appliances Jiangsu 3 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 3 Unlock Company Profile
SOF Equipment 3 Unlock Company Profile
Guardian Industries UK 3 Unlock Company Profile
Yas 3 Unlock Company Profile
GTE 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Panasonic is the leading patent filer in vacuum insulated glazing, while KGIC Merger and AGC stood in the second and third place, respectively.

Panasonic is a leading developer, producer, and service provider of diverse electric and electronic products. Its comprehensive product portfolio spans room air-conditioners, TVs, fixed-phones, digital cameras, home audio equipment, and more. Panasonic is also a key player in electronic components, welding equipment, PCs, tablets, and advanced solutions for various sectors such as consumer, logistics, automotive, and housing.

Headquartered in Kadoma-shi, Osaka, Japan, Panasonic is actively engaged in the advancement and application of vacuum insulated glazing technology. Recognizing the potential of VIG to improve energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability in buildings, Panasonic has developed its own VIG technology called Glavenir. This technology boasts superior thermal insulation and durability. Panasonic is committed to refining Glavenir, showcasing its dedication to sustainable building solutions and the continual advancement of this innovative technology. Through investments in VIG development, application, and promotion, Panasonic aims to contribute to the widespread adoption of VIG, playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of energy-efficient buildings.

In terms of application diversity, BASF leads the pack, while Huntsman and SAES Getters stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Research Frontiers held the top position, followed by Prince International and View.

BASF, a prominent chemical company headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany, specializes in the production, marketing, and sales of chemicals, plastics, crop protection products, and performance items. With an extensive product line, including solvents, adhesives, electronic chemicals, paints, and more, BASF serves diverse industries such as construction, agriculture, electronics, automotive, and nutrition.

BASF has actively engaged in the advancement of vacuum insulating glazing technology, recognizing its potential to enhance energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability in buildings. The company's significant contributions to VIG development, coupled with its focus on innovation and sustainability, position BASF at the forefront of advancements in this transformative technology. Through expertise in materials science, manufacturing optimization, and collaborations, BASF is actively shaping the future of VIG, playing a key role in the progression toward energy-efficient and sustainable building practices. As VIG technology continues to evolve, BASF is poised to make substantial contributions, furthering the green building movement and promoting a more sustainable future.

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