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The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Fitness monitoring & gamification. 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 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.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, drug delivery device security, microscopic image analysis models, and cellular imaging techniques are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, automated immunoassay analysers, and AI-assisted MRI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart fitness training system and non-invasive physiological monitoring which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry

Fitness monitoring & gamification is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

An activity tracker, often called as a fitness tracker, is a tool or software programme for keeping track of fitness-related metrics such as calories burned, distance walked or run, and in some cases, heart rate. Using artificial intelligence (AI) fitness monitoring applications can analyse the data and provide meaningful insight to the individual. The inclusion of AI-based game-like aspects to fitness activities such as daily workouts, exercise routines, and strength training is known as fitness gamification. Fitness tracking apps such as pedometers that measure progress and reward users for meeting objectives and milestones are frequently used to implement gamified fitness.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fitness monitoring & gamification.

Key players in fitness monitoring & gamification – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare 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 fitness monitoring & gamification

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 443 Unlock Company Profile
adidas 109 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 64 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 54 Unlock Company Profile
Peloton Interactive 50 Unlock Company Profile
Polar Electro 45 Unlock Company Profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 43 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 38 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 29 Unlock Company Profile
ROM Technologies 27 Unlock Company Profile
GyroGear 22 Unlock Company Profile
Fox Factory Holding 21 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 20 Unlock Company Profile
TOCA Football 19 Unlock Company Profile
EW Healthcare Partners 17 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
MAD DOGG ATHLETICS 17 Unlock Company Profile
InfoMotion Sports Technologies 16 Unlock Company Profile
Interactive Strength 15 Unlock Company Profile
Casio Computer 15 Unlock Company Profile
Nautilus 15 Unlock Company Profile
Technogym 14 Unlock Company Profile
Isolynx 13 Unlock Company Profile
F45 Training 13 Unlock Company Profile
Skyhawke Technologies 12 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 12 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 12 Unlock Company Profile
Intel 11 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 10 Unlock Company Profile
New Balance 10 Unlock Company Profile
Motorika 10 Unlock Company Profile
LG 9 Unlock Company Profile
MTG 9 Unlock Company Profile
VirZOOM 9 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 9 Unlock Company Profile
AT&T 9 Unlock Company Profile
Artemis 8 Unlock Company Profile
Amer Sports 8 Unlock Company Profile
Cyberdyne 8 Unlock Company Profile
Tau Orthopedics 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nokia 8 Unlock Company Profile
Tonal Systems 7 Unlock Company Profile
Lagree Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Spotify Technology 7 Unlock Company Profile
zebris Medical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bio-Sensing Solutions 6 Unlock Company Profile
Activbody 6 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in the market for fitness monitoring & gamification. Some other key patent filers in the field include adidas and Koninklijke Philips. In terms of application diversity, MTG leads the pack, followed by Spotify Technology and Motorika. By means of geographic reach, Nokia held the top position, followed by NIKE and GyroGear in second and third spots, respectively.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to analyse data from fitness monitoring devices. The use of AI along with gamification has enhanced the attention of sportspersons toward fitness monitoring devices. Gamification can be done in the form of a social-based, reward-based, or goal-based approach. Once the goal is complete, the user gets the points or rewards, which can be redeemed for a particular gift. Gamification features would enhance the market of fitness monitoring devices. Individuals are more likely to continue the relevant physical activities to maintain or achieve specific goals. Gamification can be used to create a community of fitness monitoring device users, who follow the common goals to complete the objectives associated with the health parameters.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare.

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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.