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 Internet of Things in Sports: Vitals monitoring exercisers.

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, neurostimulation exercisers is a disruptive technology that is in the early stage of application and should be tracked closely. Environmental sensors, performance monitoring sports equipment, and vitals monitoring exercisers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are outdoor sporting navigation systems and remote athletic performance monitoring, which are now well established in the industry.

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

Vitals monitoring exercisers is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Vitals monitoring exercisers measure real-time vital signs of an individual during exercise, including heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and oxygen saturation. IoT-enabled monitoring exercisers are widely adopted in the sports industry to effectively monitor the health, physical and physiological conditions of athletes during physical/strategic training and identify factors for disease screening and injury prevention.

Real-time vital sign monitoring and collection system for individuals during exercise is preeminent from the perspective of healthcare and sports training.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vitals monitoring exercisers.

Key players in vitals monitoring exercisers – 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 vitals monitoring exercisers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 365 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 138 Unlock company profile
adidas 122 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 86 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 84 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 74 Unlock company profile
Lululemon Athletica 58 Unlock company profile
FitStar Labs 41 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 34 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 34 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 31 Unlock company profile
Technikka Conexion 31 Unlock company profile
Nautilus 24 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 21 Unlock company profile
Dugan Health 20 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 19 Unlock company profile
Wahoo Fitness 17 Unlock company profile
Tau Orthopedics 17 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 16 Unlock company profile
NuStep 16 Unlock company profile
AlterG 16 Unlock company profile
Intel 15 Unlock company profile
Lagree Technologies 14 Unlock company profile
Extreme Networks 14 Unlock company profile
Isolynx 13 Unlock company profile
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 13 Unlock company profile
Technogym 12 Unlock company profile
AIRBORNE ATHLETICS 11 Unlock company profile
TritonWear 11 Unlock company profile
Bose 10 Unlock company profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 10 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 10 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 10 Unlock company profile
Fossil Group 10 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 9 Unlock company profile
BALANCED BODY 9 Unlock company profile
Recovery Force 8 Unlock company profile
Integrated Health Partners 8 Unlock company profile
Casio Computer 8 Unlock company profile
KEBA 8 Unlock company profile
Dpe Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Tonal Systems 7 Unlock company profile
Johnson Health Tech 7 Unlock company profile
Muoverti 7 Unlock company profile
HapellaKoninklijke Philips 7 Unlock company profile
Omron 7 Unlock company profile
Safway Group Holding 6 Unlock company profile
2nd Skull 6 Unlock company profile
STREAMLINE AUTOMATION 6 Unlock company profile
Stratosphere 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

NIKEis one of the leading patent filers in performance monitoring sports equipment. Some other key patent filers in performance monitoring sports equipment industry include iFIT Health & Fitness, adidas, Koninklijke Philips, and Peloton Interactive.

In terms of application diversity, FitStar Labs leads the pack, while Alphabet and Trudell Medical International stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sato Sports Plaza holds the top position, followed by Humanware and NIKE.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the sports industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Thematic Research: Internet of Things 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.