The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by optimising the performance of the power distribution network and improving the quality of the distributed power, and growing importance of technologies such as smart grid, intelligent substation, and distribution automation (DA). In the last three years alone, there have been over 439,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Power: Electricity supply distribution models.

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.

90+ innovations will shape the power industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the power industry using innovation intensity models built on over 83,000 patents, there are 90+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, EV conductive charging, smart grid remote monitoring, and self-organising networks power optimisation are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart batteries, renewable energy integrated microgrids, and smart lighting system are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are home automation network power management, and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry. 

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

Electricity supply distribution models is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Electricity supply distribution model, excluding electricity supply, refers to the transmission of electricity through high voltage, medium voltage, and low voltage electricity distribution networks, as well as the management of the electricity distribution system in a specific area for the purpose of delivering electricity to consumers.

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 power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of electricity supply distribution models.

Key players in electricity supply distribution models – a disruptive innovation in the power 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’.

State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC ) is the leading patent filers in electricity supply distribution models. SGCC is a state-owned power utility. The company’s core business includes construction and operation of power grids. It focuses on research and development of ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission and smart grid technologies.

In terms of application diversity, State Grid Shanghai Municipal Electric Power, Korea Electric Power , ABB , and Clean Power Research are some of the leading patent filers in electricity supply distribution models.

Based on geographic reach, China Southern Power Grid , China General Nuclear Power , and State Grid Information and Telecommunication are some of the leading patent filers in electricity supply distribution models. 

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things in Power (2021).

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.