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: Sensor-integrated scoring devices.

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

Sensor-integrated scoring devices is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Electronic scoring systems or automated scoring systems are used for sports such as shooting and archery. The electronics presented on screens will automatically display the score based on the shot placement. Same as in archery optical laser technology is used for accurate and faster results. Further advancements are going towards the use of image processing techniques for automatic scoring systems.

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established sports companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sensor-integrated scoring devices.

Key players in sensor-integrated scoring devices – 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 sensor-integrated scoring devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
NIKE 355 Unlock company profile
iFIT Health & Fitness 111 Unlock company profile
adidas 74 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 70 Unlock company profile
LG 61 Unlock company profile
Apple 57 Unlock company profile
Peloton Interactive 55 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 46 Unlock company profile
Golfzon (Japan) 45 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 37 Unlock company profile
Karsten Manufacturing 31 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 30 Unlock company profile
Icon Ip 30 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 28 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 27 Unlock company profile
Amer Sports 24 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Electric Industries 23 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 21 Unlock company profile
Dugan Health 20 Unlock company profile
TOCA Football 19 Unlock company profile
Teijin 19 Unlock company profile
Tonal Systems 17 Unlock company profile
Interactive Strength 16 Unlock company profile
Casio Computer 16 Unlock company profile
Technogym 16 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 16 Unlock company profile
Polar Electro 15 Unlock company profile
Intel 15 Unlock company profile
Neofect 14 Unlock company profile
AIRBORNE ATHLETICS 13 Unlock company profile
World Golf Systems 13 Unlock company profile
Arccos Golf 13 Unlock company profile
Murata Machinery 13 Unlock company profile
Origin Enterprises 13 Unlock company profile
Skyhawke Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
F45 Training 12 Unlock company profile
TritonWear 11 Unlock company profile
Interactive Sports Technologies 11 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 11 Unlock company profile
Arena Innovation 10 Unlock company profile
Boston Biomotion 10 Unlock company profile
EW Healthcare Partners 10 Unlock company profile
Jetson 10 Unlock company profile
Nestle 10 Unlock company profile
Funky Moves 10 Unlock company profile
Callaghan Innovation Research 9 Unlock company profile
NCAB GROUP 8 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 8 Unlock company profile
TDK 8 Unlock company profile
Biomech Sensor 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nike is one of the foremost companies when it comes to submitting patents for sensor-equipped score-keeping gadgets. Some other significant patent filers in the sector of electronic scoring systems are iFIT Health & Fitness, adidas, Toyota, LG, and Apple. Sensor-integrated scoring devices are the most sophisticated technology available, with potential uses in sports such as target shooting.

In terms of application diversity, EW Healthcare Partners leads the pack. Alphabet and Healing Innovations stand in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, EW Healthcare Partners holds the top position, followed by Neofect and World Golf Systems.

Sensor-integrated scoring devices are growing in importance in more sports. New-generation interactive shooting targets will give precise impact measurement and an unlimited choice of targets. 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.