The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and productivity , 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 Robotics in construction: self-cleaning toilets. 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 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, polishing robots, robotic excavators, and autonomous worksite machines are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Welding robots, automated slurry-blast tools, and adaptive road milling rollers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the construction industry

Self-cleaning toilets is a key innovation area in robotics

Self-cleaning toilets are toilets that have been designed with features and technologies to efficiently clean themselves after each use without the need for manual cleaning. They have features such as automated cleaning systems, siphonic flush toilet systems, and jet holes strategically positioned for effective waste evacuation.

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of self-cleaning toilets.

Key players in self-cleaning toilets – 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 self-cleaning toilets

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toto 180 Unlock Company Profile
Kohler 79 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Dongpeng 50 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 37 Unlock Company Profile
LIXIL 33 Unlock Company Profile
Duravit 28 Unlock Company Profile
Huida Sanitary Ware 26 Unlock Company Profile
Xiamen R&T Plumbing Technology 24 Unlock Company Profile
Allegion 22 Unlock Company Profile
Xiamen Kemu Intelligent Technology 22 Unlock Company Profile
Marriott International 21 Unlock Company Profile
Masco 20 Unlock Company Profile
Xiamen Dabai Technology 19 Unlock Company Profile
JOMOO Kitchen & Bath 18 Unlock Company Profile
Jomoo Kitchen & Bath Appliances 15 Unlock Company Profile
Grifols 14 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Hegii Sanitary Wares 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sacmi Imola S.C. 12 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 12 Unlock Company Profile
Takayoshi 11 Unlock Company Profile
Chongqing Concast Sanitary Ware 10 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Kohler Electronics 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bolina 8 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Bodian Electronics Technology 7 Unlock Company Profile
SJM 7 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Ikahe Sanitary Ware 7 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sichuan Aimbon Mold 6 Unlock Company Profile
Villeroy & Boch 5 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangmen Idear-Hanyu Electrical Joint-Stock 4 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration 4 Unlock Company Profile
Rifeng Enterprise Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
Dometic Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
Miura 4 Unlock Company Profile
Rifeng Technology 4 Unlock Company Profile
Xiamen Zhijie Intelligent Technology 4 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Yasha Decoration 4 Unlock Company Profile
Kohler India 4 Unlock Company Profile
Foshan Rifeng Enterprise 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hefei Royalstar Sanyo Electric Appliance 3 Unlock Company Profile
Hall Labs 3 Unlock Company Profile
Wisa Beheer 3 Unlock Company Profile
Liuzhou Jingyang Energy-Saving Technology Research Development 2 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Oulin Life Health Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nanan Lidi Home Supplies 2 Unlock Company Profile
First Peoples Hospital Nantong 2 Unlock Company Profile
Henan Inst Engineering 2 Unlock Company Profile
Runner Xiamen 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Vacdrain Vacuum Drainage Equipment 2 Unlock Company Profile
Helvex 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toto, a company based in Japan, is the leading patent filer in the self-cleaning toilet space. Among its leading products is the NEOREST AC 2.0 WASHLET, which is the first product that cleans itself completely. According to the company, in addition to the proven WASHLET technologies, the new NEOREST WASHLET actively cleans the inside of the toilet bowl.  Kohler is another key player, and its ContinuousClean toilets feature Revolution 360® flushing technology powered by an AquaPiston® flush engine.

In terms of application diversity, SJM Holdings leads the pack, while Airbus and Sacmi Imola stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Raytheon Technologies held the top position, followed by Masco and Sacmi Imola.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the construction industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics 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.