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The power industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rising energy demand, renewable integration, and the need for grid stability and resilience, automation of networks, reduction in operational costs and optimal distribution of power network traffic, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. In the last three years alone, there have been over 656,000 patents filed and granted in the power industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in power: SON power optimization. Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

40+ 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 70,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, variable speed gas turbines is disruptive technology that is in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Perovskite photoactive layering, power distribution control system, and CAES gas turbines are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are geothermal heat pumps and prepaid electricity metering, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the power industry

SON power optimization is a key innovation area in power

Self-organizing networks power optimization refers to automation of network tasks that includes operation, optimization and configuration of power network traffic. It facilitates self-optimization, self-configuration and self-protection to deliver an optimum load-balancing network.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of SON power optimization.

Key players in SON power optimization – a disruptive innovation in the power industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to SON power optimization

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alphabet 148 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 134 Unlock Company Profile
Itron 91 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Information and Telecommunication 26 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 25 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 23 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 19 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 17 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 11 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 10 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 9 Unlock Company Profile
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories 9 Unlock Company Profile
AES 9 Unlock Company Profile
Trilliant Networks 9 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nanjing Power Supply Company Of Jiangsu Electric Power 8 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 7 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eaton 6 Unlock Company Profile
Veniam 6 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 6 Unlock Company Profile
NARI Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Mueller Water Products 4 Unlock Company Profile
SolarOne Solutions 4 Unlock Company Profile
Neul 4 Unlock Company Profile
LG 3 Unlock Company Profile
Information and Communication Univerity Research and Industrial Cooperation Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
McWane Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 3 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Hebei Electric Power Supply 2 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 2 Unlock Company Profile
Eta Vision 2 Unlock Company Profile
Hengan International Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Smartchip Microelectronics Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 2 Unlock Company Profile
Solum 2 Unlock Company Profile
Motorola Solutions 2 Unlock Company Profile
MeshPlusPlus 2 Unlock Company Profile
Signify 2 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou Electric Equipment Manufacturing 1 Unlock Company Profile
Wenzhou Electric Power Supply Company Of State Grid Zhejiang Electric Power 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenyang Power Supply Co of State Grid Liaoning Electric Power 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 1 Unlock Company Profile
Nanjing Nari Information Communication Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Comtop Information Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Shengda Machinery Design 1 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Electric Power Information Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Yixin Intelligent Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Maiqijie Intelligent Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

State Grid Corporation of China, Alphabet, ABB, Eaton, Itron, and Emerson Electric are among the key patent filers in SON power optimization.

ABB’s portfolio of automation and digitization delivers increased quality, accuracy, and precision to processes across industries. ABB offers products in automation, integrated automation and electrical solutions, energy management and advance process control, excitation and synchronization system, and power plant and fleet optimization.

Meanwhile, Emerson Electric’s automation portfolio delivers intelligent field devices, control systems, and software capabilities. The digital transformation solution provides better control, increased utilization, fewer breakdowns, and real-time process analysis.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the power industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Power.

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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.