As the smartphone market matured, many companies are looking for the post-smartphone market that can generate new revenues. Many market researchers expect that the interconnected IoT (Internet of Things) devices will create a new market that will result in more than $1 trillion in value added to the global economy within 10 years. In the short term, wearable computing devices are expected to form an early IoT market by interconnecting body-sensing devices and providing useful personal services including healthcare.
As we have seen in the smartphone market development, it is expected that the super-competition to preoccupy the leadership in the lucrative IoT market can lead to another round of patent wars. The post-smartphone patent wars, however, will be more extensive because of more extensive participation of players across several different industries. The post-smartphone patent wars will also be more complex because of the recent rapid change in legal environment and the learning curve from the smartphone patent wars.
To assess the potential patent disputes risk of the IoT, patent landscapes of three major IoT applications – smart home, connected cars, smart healthcare (including healthcare/fitness wearable devices) – and IoT platform connectivity are researched. Followings summarize the potential patent disputes risk for each subfield of the IoT.