The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by factors such as the increasing need for energy efficiency, the integration of renewable energy sources, and the demand for accurate billing and demand response programs. The growing importance of technologies such as smart meters with advanced communication capabilities, wireless sensor networks, data analytics platforms, and cloud-based infrastructure is further driving innovation in the technology industry. These technologies enable remote meter reading, real-time energy monitoring, and the ability to optimise energy usage based on consumption patterns. As the world focuses on sustainable energy practices and efficient resource management, IoT (Internet of Things) innovation in smart metering systems plays a pivotal role in enabling intelligent energy management, reducing costs, and promoting environmental sustainability. 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: Smart metering system. 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

Smart metering system is a key innovation area in IoT

Smart metering systems encompass automated energy management systems that empower customers to actively measure, monitor, and regulate their energy consumption in real-time. This cutting-edge technology equips customers with comprehensive insights into their energy usage patterns, enabling informed decisions for effective energy cost management. By facilitating more efficient customer service, reducing energy costs, and enhancing power grid reliability, smart metering systems bring significant advantages to utilities and end-users alike.

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 190+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart metering system.

Key players in smart metering system – 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 metering system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 220 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 194 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 155 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 153 Unlock Company Profile
Itron 147 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 129 Unlock Company Profile
LG 115 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 99 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 99 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 96 Unlock Company Profile
Kyocera 94 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid 86 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 82 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 82 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 80 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 78 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Controls International 68 Unlock Company Profile
TaKaDu 66 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 55 Unlock Company Profile
Haier Group 55 Unlock Company Profile
LS Electric 50 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 48 Unlock Company Profile
Lennox International 43 Unlock Company Profile
Alarmcom 42 Unlock Company Profile
Electro Industries/GaugeTech 41 Unlock Company Profile
Daikin Industries 41 Unlock Company Profile
THOMSON LICENSING 40 Unlock Company Profile
Xylem 39 Unlock Company Profile
Senseware 38 Unlock Company Profile
Enel 36 Unlock Company Profile
Consert 36 Unlock Company Profile
ONZO 36 Unlock Company Profile
Kudelski 34 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 33 Unlock Company Profile
Electricite de France 32 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 32 Unlock Company Profile
Reactive Technologies 32 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 31 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 29 Unlock Company Profile
Centrica 29 Unlock Company Profile
Green Running 28 Unlock Company Profile
Hubbell 28 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 28 Unlock Company Profile
AES 27 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 26 Unlock Company Profile
Bayerische Motoren Werke 25 Unlock Company Profile
MelRok 25 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 25 Unlock Company Profile
Viessmann Werke 24 Unlock Company Profile
b8ta 24 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

General Electric is a leading patent filer in smart metering system. One of the company’s patents focuses on an optimisation-based method and system for enabling various loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) to participate in grid ancillary services. The method involves receiving decision parameters, optimising an objective to obtain flexible reserve power, determining a reserve power schedule, generating a service bid for the power grid, and providing flexible reserve power when the bid is accepted.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Toshiba and Siemens.   

By geographic reach, enModus leads the pack, followed by ams and Sun Electric. In terms of application diversity, SIPCO holds the top position, followed by Senseware and A.T. Kearney. 

IoT innovation in smart metering systems has revolutionised the way utilities measure and manage energy consumption. Smart metering systems leverage IoT technology to enable real-time monitoring, data collection, and analysis of energy usage in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.    

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.