The power industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by automation of networks, reduction in operational costs and optimal distribution of power network traffic, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and pre-optimised software algorithms. 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: Self-organising networks power optimization.

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

Self-organising networks power optimisation is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Self-organising networks power optimisation refers to automation of network tasks that includes operation, optimisation and configuration of power network traffic. It facilitates self-optimisation, 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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established power companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of self-organising networks power optimisation.

Key players in self-organising networks power optimisation – 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’.

Patent volumes related to self-organising networks power optimisation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alphabet 86 Unlock company profile
Itron 71 Unlock company profile
State Grid Corporation of China 58 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 24 Unlock company profile
Emerson Electric 18 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 9 Unlock company profile
State Grid Information and Telecommunication 8 Unlock company profile
Nanjing Power Supply Company Of Jiangsu Electric Power Company 8 Unlock company profile
Itron Global 8 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 7 Unlock company profile
ABB 6 Unlock company profile
AES 6 Unlock company profile
Eaton 6 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 6 Unlock company profile
Veniam 6 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 5 Unlock company profile
China Southern Power Grid 5 Unlock company profile
SolarOne Solutions 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Switzerland-based ABB has filed a number of patents in this area. The company’s portfolio of automation and digitisation delivers increased quality, accuracy, and precision to processes across the industries. ABB offers products in automation, integrated automation and electrical solutions, energy management and advance process control, excitation and synchronisation system, and power plant and fleet optimisation.

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

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.