The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a greater focus on environmental sustainability, workplace safety and circular construction, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), modular construction and 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: Offshore constructions.
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
Offshore constructions are a key innovation area in construction
Offshore constructions can be defined as the installation of fixed structures on the sea, with the structure extending either above or lying below the water’s surface. The most common example of offshore construction is the building of oil and gas platforms and offshore wind farms.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of offshore constructions.
Key players in offshore constructions – 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 offshore constructions
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Leading innovators within the offshore construction industry include Ackermans & Van Haaren NV (AVH), which is a provider of construction services. Through its subsidiary DEME, AVH provides dredging and marine engineering services, including offshore activities in the renewable energy, oil and gas, and aggregate and mineral extraction fields. Key AVH patents in the offshore construction industry include the computer-aided dredging of an underwater bottom that maximises production and minimises damage to the natural environment. Other patents include methods to facilitate the offshore installation of a wind turbine using a jack-up platform and a concrete connector body for an offshore wind turbine.
In terms of geographical reach, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Seatower, and Saipem are leading innovators in the offshore construction industry. By application diversity, leading companies include STX France and ThyssenKrupp.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Construction.