The construction industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity being driven by an increased focus on environmental sustainability and workplace safety, and the growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things, robotics and circular construction. 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 Innovation in construction: soundproof structures. 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, self-healing concrete, waterproof floor drains, and construction 3D printing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart glazing, regeneration control hydraulics, and floating breakwaters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wall surface temperature controls and embossed floor panels, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the construction industry

Soundproof structures is a key innovation area in construction

A soundproof structure is a structure that is designed and constructed to prevent or greatly reduce the transmission of sound between areas, in order to reduce disturbance to occupants and the outside environment. Soundproofing is achieved through the use of materials and architectural configurations that absorb, reflect and isolate sound waves. Typical soundproofing measures include the use of insulation, floating floors, staggered stud walls, double pane windows, solid core doors and vibration isolators.

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 160 companies, spanning technology vendors, established construction companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of soundproof structures.

Key players in soundproof structures – 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 soundproof structures

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fujifilm 158 Unlock Company Profile
Gebr Knauf 80 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain 57 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha 55 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 34 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 33 Unlock Company Profile
Shizuka 29 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 27 Unlock Company Profile
3M 27 Unlock Company Profile
Sto 26 Unlock Company Profile
Resonac 25 Unlock Company Profile
Hexcel 25 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 23 Unlock Company Profile
Tenneco 23 Unlock Company Profile
Armstrong World Industries 22 Unlock Company Profile
JNC 21 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Light Metal 18 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 15 Unlock Company Profile
Precision Fabrics Group 15 Unlock Company Profile
CertainTeed Gypsum 14 Unlock Company Profile
James Hardie Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 13 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 12 Unlock Company Profile
Signify 12 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 11 Unlock Company Profile
Endurance RP 10 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 10 Unlock Company Profile
Shimizu 9 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 9 Unlock Company Profile
Louisiana-Pacific 9 Unlock Company Profile
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Albers 8 Unlock Company Profile
Riken Technos 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 8 Unlock Company Profile
KGIC Merger 8 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 8 Unlock Company Profile
Pixie Dust Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Kronoplus Technical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Gifu Plastic Industry 6 Unlock Company Profile
Takenaka 6 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 6 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Runyang New Material Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
Kawakami Sangyo 5 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National Research Scientific 5 Unlock Company Profile
FAIST ChemTec 5 Unlock Company Profile
Riso Kagaku 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ube Industries 5 Unlock Company Profile
Inoue Mtp 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nagoya Oilchemical 5 Unlock Company Profile
Daiwa House Industry 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

One of the leading companies in the development of soundproof structures is Armstrong World Industries, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of ceilings, suspension, and wall systems. A key innovation by the company is the development of an acoustically absorbent porous panel constructed from cured foamed cementitious material. The invention creates a novel acoustical panel having a high acoustic absorbency by altering the shape of a surface of the panel to achieve both good sound reduction and to retain excellent strength properties. Another innovator in the space is Pacific Coast Building Products, which developed a laminar and associated manufacturing process that significantly improves the ability of a wall, ceiling, floor or door to reduce the transmission of sound. The material comprises a lamination of several different materials, incorporating viscoelastic material layers and constraining layers to improve sound attenuation. Pacific Coast Building Products is a manufacturer and distributor of building materials.

In terms of application diversity, leading innovators in the development of soundproofing systems include CertainTeed Gypsum, a manufacturer of building materials, and Louisiana-Pacific, a manufacturer of building materials and provider of building solutions. By means of geographic reach, leading companies in the space include Hexcel, Tenneco, and TotalEnergies.

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