Innovation in the sports industry is constantly evolving, with activity driven by digital advancements, high-level of social media interactions, broad appeal for immersive sports experience, and fan engagement as well as the growing importance of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud, data analytics, wearable tech and many more. In the last three years alone, there have been over 48,000 patents filed and granted in the sports industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Sports: Intelligent rowing machines.

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.

20+ innovations will shape the sports industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the sports industry using innovation intensity models built on over 101,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous ball picking, context adaptive exercisers, and smart game scoring displays are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Automated active rehabilitation devices, game performance analytics, and virtual trainers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is automated card dealers, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial Intelligence in the sports industry

Intelligent rowing machines are a key innovation area in artificial Intelligence

Intelligent rowing machines connect with a user's phone and allow them to closely monitor their fitness regime as well as vary load and speed to closely match with desired goals. They provide a smart way to monitor all your performance statistics.

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 sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of intelligent rowing machines.

Key players in intelligent rowing machines – a disruptive innovation in the sports 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 intelligent rowing machines

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE Inc 126 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 96 Unlock company profile
adidas 81 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 63 Unlock company profile
LG 57 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 33 Unlock company profile
Lagree Technologies 33 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
Dasan Rnd 28 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 26 Unlock company profile
Hydrow 16 Unlock company profile
NuStep 16 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 16 Unlock company profile
Fitness Cubed 15 Unlock company profile
Intel 15 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 13 Unlock company profile
IncludeFitness 11 Unlock company profile
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital 11 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 9 Unlock company profile
VirZOOM 9 Unlock company profile
Full Swing Golf 8 Unlock company profile
Healing Innovations 7 Unlock company profile
Muoverti 7 Unlock company profile
AlterG 7 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 7 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Kae Sun Sports 6 Unlock company profile
Dyaco International 6 Unlock company profile
Stratosphere 6 Unlock company profile
Arena Innovation 5 Unlock company profile
Ventrk 5 Unlock company profile
Bertec 5 Unlock company profile
Mirrored Motion Works 5 Unlock company profile
Spx Fitness 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKE is one of the leading patent filers in intelligent rowing machines. Some other key patent filers in the intelligent rowing machine industry include iFIT Health & Fitness, adidas, Peloton Interactive, and LG.

In terms of application diversity, Koninklijke Philips leads the pack. Healing Innovations and Ventrk stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Dasan Rnd holds the top position, followed by Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and Amer Sports.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Sport.


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.