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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. 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 Internet of Things in Construction: Excavator performance monitoring.  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 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, intelligent water body cleaning is a disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intelligent motor controllers, hydraulic actuators, and sensor-integrated door wings are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are automatic faucet and excavator monitoring systems, which are now well established in the industry.   

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the construction industry 

Excavator performance monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things 

Excavator performance monitors use data from a system installed in the excavator to accurately assess the performance of excavators. The monitor allows the operator to access real-time information on the performance and consistency of the excavator and ensure optimal usage of the machine throughout the excavation process. 

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of excavator performance monitor. 

Key players in excavator performance monitor – 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 excavator performance monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Komatsu 125 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 81 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 39 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 38 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 37 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Infracore 21 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 15 Unlock Company Profile
Deere & Co 15 Unlock Company Profile
Liebherr-International 13 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 13 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar Holdings 9 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 6 Unlock Company Profile
Novatron 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

A leading company in the excavator performance monitor space is Komatsu, a leading supplier of heavy industrial and construction machinery. A recent innovation is the use of graphics display systems installed in excavators, which allow operators to monitor and improve the performance of excavations with predetermined depths and inclinations. The display system utilises a position detection unit that detects the attitude and the position of the machine, a distance detection device, and a processing device to create an image and feedback real-time information to the operator. Other leading companies in the space include Sumitomo and Hitachi

In terms of application diversity, the leading companies include Liebherr-International, Kubota, and Fujifilm. The leading companies in terms of geographic reach are Liebherr-International, Komatsu, and Kobe Steel

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. 

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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.