The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity 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 as well as higher quality construction products and materials. In the last three years alone, there have been over 248,000 patents filed and granted in the construction industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Construction: Intelligent closestool.  Buy the report here.

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. 

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 179,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

Within the emerging innovation stage, mullion-transom curtain walls is a disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Heat-insulated glazing panels, drainage gully grating, and acoustic ceiling panels are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are abrasion-resistant decorative flooring and road construction milling tool, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry 

Intelligent closestool is a key innovation area in construction 

An intelligent toilet, also known as a smart toilet or an intelligent closestool, is a type of toilet that incorporates advanced technology and features to enhance the user experience. Features can include automatic cleaning, flushing, heating and more. 

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of intelligent closestool. 

Key players in intelligent closestool – a disruptive innovation in the construction 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 intelligent closestool

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toto 110 Unlock company profile
Kohler 40 Unlock company profile
LIXIL 27 Unlock company profile
Xiamen R&T Plumbing Technology 26 Unlock company profile
Guangdong Dongpeng Holdings 24 Unlock company profile
Allegion 21 Unlock company profile
Marriott International 21 Unlock company profile
Duravit 19 Unlock company profile
JOMOO Kitchen & Bath 15 Unlock company profile
Huida Sanitary Ware 14 Unlock company profile
Guangdong Hegii Sanitary Wares 13 Unlock company profile
Grifols 12 Unlock company profile
Masco 12 Unlock company profile
Jomoo Kitchen & Bath Appliances 12 Unlock company profile
Takayoshi 11 Unlock company profile
SACMI 10 Unlock company profile
Chongqing Concast Sanitary Ware 10 Unlock company profile
Xiamen Dabai Technology 9 Unlock company profile
Bolina Holding 8 Unlock company profile
SJM Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 7 Unlock company profile
Sichuan Aimbon Mold 7 Unlock company profile
Zhejiang Ikahe Sanitary Ware 6 Unlock company profile
Airbus 5 Unlock company profile
Xiamen Zhijie Intelligent Technology 5 Unlock company profile
Villeroy & Boch 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toto is the leading filer in intelligent closestool manufacturing. The company is one of the world leaders in toilet manufacturing. Toto is widely known for making the Washlet, which uses automatic cleaning techniques and making the Warmlet, which warms the toilet seat. Toto's Neorest line of toilets include an integrated bidet, automatic flushing, automatic seat heating, and an automatic lid that opens and closes. They also have a UV light that automatically sanitises the toilet bowl after each use. 

In terms of application diversity, SJM Holdings is among the leaders in the pack, along with Airbus. By means of geographic reach, Sika holds the top position, followed by Eternit NVC and CelluComp. 

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.