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 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 Internet of Things in construction: eco-friendly HVACs. 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 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, robotic excavators, self-cleaning toilets, and smart waterproofing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Sensor-integrated doors, eco-friendly HVACs, and automated slurry-blast tools are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is work vehicle cruise control, which is now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the construction industry
Eco-friendly HVACs is a key innovation area in Internet of Things
Amid growing environmental concerns, and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the need for more energy efficient and eco-friendly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is paramount. These improved HVAC systems use environmentally friendly refrigerants to reduce their environmental impact, and have more efficient control mechanisms.
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 510 companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of eco-friendly HVACs.
Key players in eco-friendly HVACs – 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 eco-friendly HVACs
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Midea Group is the leading patent filer in eco-friendly HVACs. The Chinese company is one of the leading air-conditioning manufacturers in the world. Among its recent improvements, the company is developing systems that target waste heat from air-conditioners and recycle it for hot-water supply. According to the company, the new technology especially benefits users living in areas where air conditioners operate for a significant amount of time. In addition to its heat recovery system, CirQ, Midea’s green solutions also include the energy-saving technology Tesseraction, and a new eco-friendly split air conditioner Breezeless E. Other leading patent filers include Haier Group, Mitsubishi Electric, and LG.
In terms of application diversity, Mitsubishi Electric is among the leaders of the pack, slightly ahead of LG. By means of geographic reach, Mitsubishi Electric holds a leading position among the major players in this area, ahead of Daikin Industries and Samsung Group.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Construction.