The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by technology, convenience, and comfort, and the growing importance of technologies such as augmented reality, the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and digitalization. In the last three years alone, there have been over 57,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in apparel: wearable computers. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 36,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the apparel industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Wearable computers is a key innovation area in Internet of Things
A wearable computer is a small gadget that can be worn as an accessory and is capable of processing as well as storing data. Wearable computers are designed in a way that they are ergonomic, easy to access, and can improve day-to-day tasks by making information quickly available to the wearer.
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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of wearable computers.
Key players in wearable computers – a disruptive innovation in the apparel 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 wearable computers
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Nike is one of the leading patent filers in wearable computers. Some other key patent filers in the space include Levi Strauss and Alphabet. In September 2022, Google and Fitbit rolled out a new cloud tool that can help hospitals in collecting and processing data from wearable computers.
In terms of application diversity, Nike leads the pack, while Samsung and Salutron stood in second and third positions, respectively.
By means of geographic reach, Sony held the top position, followed by Nike and Levi Strauss.
As technology progresses and more wearable devices are being invented, wearables are finding increasingly diverse applications in various fields from the tracking of physical activities to that of health vitals.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the apparel industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Retail and Apparel.