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, and 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: Smart helmets. 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.

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

Smart helmets is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

A smart helmet is a protective headgear used while riding a bicycle or motorcycle, it gives the user exceptional levels of safety and complete access to the user’s phone. The product's purpose is to offer safety by delivering information about the surroundings utilising technology and allowing the user to access phone functions using his or her voice. 

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 healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart helmets.

Key players in smart helmets – 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 smart helmets

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 54 Unlock company profile
Brg Sports 14 Unlock company profile
Apple 14 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 11 Unlock company profile
AT&T 10 Unlock company profile
MC10 7 Unlock company profile
Systex 7 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 7 Unlock company profile
2nd Skull 6 Unlock company profile
BlackBox Biometrics 6 Unlock company profile
FUSAR Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Cleveland Clinic is one of the leading patent filers in smart helmets. Some other key patent filers in the field include Apple, Brg Sports, and International Business Machines.

In terms of application diversity, 2nd Skull leads the pack, followed by Apple and Systex. By means of geographic reach, Cleaveland Clinic holds the top position, followed by Ford Motor and Systex in second and third spots, respectively.  

Smart helmets use a variety of sensors, which have benefits like being able to detect accidents, nearby vehicles, alcohol use, a quick alerting system, and so on. In the future, basic bike functions will be controlled by voice commands. AI could be used to make motorcycles that drive themselves in the future, keeping riders safe and preventing accidents.

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.

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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.