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 Internet of Things in Healthcare: AI-assisted surgical imaging systems.

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, smart helmets, body temperature sensors, and software as a medical device (SaMD) are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, point-of-care molecular diagnostics, and automated immunoassay analysers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart contact lenses and GPS integrated fitness monitors, which are now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the healthcare industry

AI-assisted surgical imaging systems is a key innovation area in Internet of Things 

AI in surgery improves surgical robotic systems' capacity to perceive complicated in vivo situations, make decisions, and carry out the required tasks with greater accuracy, safety, and efficiency. 

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted surgical imaging systems. 

Key players in AI-assisted surgical imaging systems – 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 AI-assisted surgical imaging systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Smith & Nephew 164 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 110 Unlock company profile
Stryker 95 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 45 Unlock company profile
EBM 42 Unlock company profile
Theator 28 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 28 Unlock company profile
Siemens 21 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 20 Unlock company profile
Olympus 20 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 20 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 19 Unlock company profile
Alcon 17 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 15 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 15 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 15 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 13 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 13 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 13 Unlock company profile
Aris MD 13 Unlock company profile
Surgical Theater 11 Unlock company profile
Quantum Surgical 10 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 10 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical 9 Unlock company profile
Chang Gung Memorial Foundation 9 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 7 Unlock company profile
Accenture 7 Unlock company profile
Dental Monitoring 6 Unlock company profile
Brain Navi Biotechnology 6 Unlock company profile
Hologic 6 Unlock company profile
Universidade de Coimbra 6 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona 6 Unlock company profile
Tietronix Software 6 Unlock company profile
General Electric 6 Unlock company profile
Patterson Companies 6 Unlock company profile
Ivoclar Vivadent 5 Unlock company profile
Montefiore Medical Center 5 Unlock company profile
Novartis 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Smith & Nephew is the leading patent filer in the AI-assisted surgical imaging systems market. Some other leading patent filers include Johnson & Johnson and Stryker

In terms of application diversity, Olympus leads the pack, followed by Theator and Medtronic. With regards to geographic reach, Stryker leads, followed by Aris MD, Brain Navi Biotechnology, and Dentsply Sirona

AI-assisted surgical imaging systems support the early prediction and determination of the level of risks associated with the diagnosis of chronic disease. AI-integrated IoMT devices are useful in crucial medical areas, such as cardiac monitoring, surgeries, diabetes, and cancer monitoring. The IoMT technology links patients and physicians, enabling remote access to gather, process, and transmit medical data via a secure network. 

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Healthcare. 


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.