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 Internet of Things in Construction: Heavy equipment monitoring 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 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

Heavy equipment monitoring systems are a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Equipment monitoring systems are designed to optimise the performance of heavy machinery and equipment used in a commercial or industrial environment by tracking data collected from the machine such as fuel usage and engine temperature.

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 heavy equipment monitoring systems.

Key players in heavy equipment monitoring systems – 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 heavy equipment monitoring systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Komatsu 264 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Heavy Industries 159 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 130 Unlock Company Profile
Deere & Co 25 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 15 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota 14 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan Infracore 13 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 10 Unlock Company Profile
AB Volvo 10 Unlock Company Profile
Yanmar Holdings 6 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Komatsu is the leading filer in heavy equipment monitoring systems. It is one of the world’s leading construction, mining, forestry, and military equipment manufacturers. Komatsu primarily manufactures excavators and dozers such as the D61i-24 dozer. It has a highly integrated supply chain and manufactures components in-house causing a high degree of innovation in equipment monitoring systems. One noteworthy patent by Komatsu is a display system that monitors the surrounding conditions while the machine is at work, allowing the machine operator to visually confirm and monitor data given from sensors on the exterior.

In terms of application diversity, Kubota is among the leaders in the pack, along with Komatsu. By means of geographic reach, Kobe Steel holds the top position, followed by Komatsu and Kubota.

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.