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The shipping industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increasing global trade and commerce and the need for efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable sea transportation solutions, as well as growing importance of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial and augmented intelligence, advanced vessel operation monitoring systems, and hydrogen fuel cells. In the last three years alone, there have been over 67,000 patents filed and granted in the shipping industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Ship: Passenger accommodation arrangements. 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 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.

30+ innovations will shape the shipping industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the shipping industry using innovation intensity models built on over 25,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Vessel propulsion systems, gas turbine-propelled vessels, and vessel internal combustion engine are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are underwater drilling support systems and anti-fouling ship hull coatings, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the shipping industry

Passenger accommodation arrangement is a key innovation area in shipping

Passenger accommodation and associated facilities in ships comprise living spaces including cabins, staterooms, dining areas, recreation rooms, gymnasium, meeting rooms, provision stores, and medical and other facilities for the comfort, safety, and overall well-being of passengers.

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 shipping companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of passenger accommodation arrangements.

Key players in passenger accommodation arrangements – a disruptive innovation in the shipping 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 passenger accommodation arrangements

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Toyota Boshoku 31 Unlock Company Profile
Airbus 15 Unlock Company Profile
Safran 12 Unlock Company Profile
TS Tech 9 Unlock Company Profile
AUTOFLUG 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 8 Unlock Company Profile
Lear 8 Unlock Company Profile
EADS Sogerma 7 Unlock Company Profile
Diehl 5 Unlock Company Profile
Clerprem 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Toyota Boshoku is the leading patent filer in passenger accommodation arrangements. Most of its innovations in this space are related to vehicle seats, headrests, and slide position detection devices for applications in ships, as well as trains, aircraft, and automobiles.

Other leading innovators in passenger accommodation arrangements include Airbus, Safran and TS Tech.

In terms of application diversity, Nissan Motor leads the pack, followed by Lear and TS Tech. By geographic reach, Nissan Motor is the leading company, followed by EADS Sogerma and Airbus.

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

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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.