The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the increasing need for clean and renewable energy sources, rising concerns about climate change, demand for energy efficiency, and growing importance of technologies such as real-time data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, and sensor networks. These technologies enable precise monitoring of energy consumption, prediction of demand patterns, identification of energy wastage, and integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, facilitating a sustainable and eco-friendly energy infrastructure. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Environmental Sustainability: Smart grid monitoring systems. Buy the report here.

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.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, smart grid monitoring system, and EV battery management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Waste management systems, engine exhaust control systems, and hybrid solar are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, energy trading platforms, EV charging metering automation and smart grid metering, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the technology industry

Smart grid monitoring systems is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Smart grid monitoring systems are innovative solutions that allow utilities to effectively monitor their electric grids in real-time, enabling the identification of outages, detection of energy usage spikes, and minimisation of power losses. By optimising grid operations, these systems assist utilities in enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and improving overall performance. Additionally, customers benefit from increased visibility into their energy consumption through these systems.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart grid monitoring systems.

Key players in smart grid monitoring systems – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 smart grid monitoring systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Panasonic 56 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 49 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid 39 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 37 Unlock Company Profile
Causam Energy 37 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 32 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 30 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 29 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 27 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 25 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 23 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Controls International 19 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 19 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 16 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 15 Unlock Company Profile
AES 14 Unlock Company Profile
3M 14 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 14 Unlock Company Profile
LG 13 Unlock Company Profile
AMETEK 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cisco Systems 12 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 11 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 11 Unlock Company Profile
Ricoh 10 Unlock Company Profile 9 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 9 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 8 Unlock Company Profile
Salesforce 8 Unlock Company Profile
A.T. Kearney 8 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 8 Unlock Company Profile
Electricite de France 8 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Geely 7 Unlock Company Profile
Carbontrack 7 Unlock Company Profile
Zonit Structured Solutions 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 6 Unlock Company Profile
TRC Companies 6 Unlock Company Profile
ebm-papst Mulfingen 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 6 Unlock Company Profile
Tesla 6 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 5 Unlock Company Profile
NARI Technology 5 Unlock Company Profile
AB Electrolux 5 Unlock Company Profile
Deutsche Telekom 5 Unlock Company Profile
Origami Energy 5 Unlock Company Profile
Dominion Energy 5 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 5 Unlock Company Profile
Kansai Electric Power 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Panasonic is one of the leading patent filers in smart grid monitoring systems. The company’s patents are aimed at a frequency regulation method for a grid which is performed by a control device that connects, through a communication network, a controller for controlling at least one load device and a storage battery.

The frequency regulation method includes obtaining an instruction signal including a power instruction value for keeping the frequency of the grid within the predetermined range, when it is detected that a frequency of a grid deviates from a predetermined range.

It also includes generating a control signal for controlling the load device when the load device is operable in accordance with the instruction signal, transmitting the control signal to the controller, and generating and transmitting a control signal for charging or discharging the storage battery when the load device is not operable in accordance with the instruction signal.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Siemens and State Grid Corporation of China. 

By geographic reach, AES leads the pack, followed by Seiko Epson and Lockheed Martin. In terms of application diversity, Zhejiang Geely Holding holds the top position, followed by A.T. Kearney and Honda Motor.         

Smart grid monitoring systems have emerged as a crucial aspect of modern energy management. These systems incorporate advanced technologies to monitor and optimise electricity distribution, enabling efficient energy usage and reducing environmental impact.   

To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability – Thematic Research.

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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.