The technology sector remains a hub of innovative activity, primarily fuelled by the convergence of technological progress, heightened connectivity, and the necessity for companies to enhance efficiency and competitiveness in a swiftly transforming marketplace, and growing importance of technologies such as temperature and humidity sensors, electrochemical sensors, light sensors, and UV sensors. These technologies, when integrated into environmental sensor systems, enable comprehensive monitoring and data collection for various environmental parameters. 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 Internet of Things: Environmental sensors. 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, digital twins, and network-on-a-chip are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intelligent embedded systems, smart factory systems and smart grids are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, contactless verification, wearable physiological monitors, and software-defined wide area network, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for IoT in the technology industry

Environmental sensors is a key innovation area in IoT

Environmental sensors encompass devices designed to measure various environmental factors, including temperature, humidity, air pressure, rainfall, wind direction, sunlight intensity, and other atmospheric properties. These sensors find application in monitoring and analysing the environment for purposes such as air quality assessment, agricultural and meteorological research, and environmental conservation.

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 technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of environmental sensors.

Key players in environmental sensors – 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 environmental sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 30 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
MyOmega Systems 9 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 8 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 6 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid 6 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 6 Unlock Company Profile
Continental 6 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in environmental sensors. The company’s patents are aimed at transmission systems transmitting data to a remote system, such as a display system, another data transmission system, or a processing system. Such footwear systems further may include activation systems for activating the transmission and/or display systems.

The transmitted data may be used for various purposes, such as (a) identifying a user of the article of footwear; (b) activating targeted advertising or product information; (c) confirming the user's presence at a specific location and/or at a specific time; (d) determining start, finish, and/or intermediate split times for specific user; (e) confirming athletic equipment usage; and (f) providing data for a game or reward program.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include SoftBank Group and MyOmega Systems.

By geographic reach, Continental leads the pack, followed by Hitachi and NIKE. In terms of application diversity, MyOmega Systems holds the top position, followed by Samsung and NIKE.

Environmental sensors play a critical role in understanding, monitoring, and protecting environment. They help in tracking climate change, detecting environmental hazards, optimising resource management, and ensuring the well-being of ecosystems and human populations.

To further understand how IoT is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things – 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.