IoT Platform Advances Non-Face-to-Face Digital Society
-Patent Application Trend for IoT Platform Technologies-
Recently, as IT companies such as Kakao, Apple, Google, and Amazon have been struggling to enter IoT-based application services markets such as in relation to self-driving cars or smart homes, IoT platform* technologies which connect user terminals like smartphones to surrounding objects such as automobiles or home appliances are attracting attention.
* ‘IoT platform’ refers to a technology that connects various sensors and terminals so that various services can be developed and operated. Representative smart home IoT platforms include “Home Kit” of Apple, “Google Home” of Google, “Echo” of Amazon, and others.
Now past initial research stage, IoT platforms are rapidly growing. Being advantageous for securing large-scale industrial data and having a high market preemption effect, once IoT platform technologies take the lead, they will have a great influence even on related industries.
Since traditional companies are also competing to develop IoT platforms against the advancements of the IT companies paying attention to this area, fierce competition is expected.
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (Internet of Things Examination Division), Korean applications related to IoT platforms also increased from 20 cases in 2013 to 115 cases in 2020, which is a nearly six-fold increase over the last 7 years (2013-2020).
Dividing IoT platforms by detailed type, there have been 213 cases (46%) for integrated management platforms that support services use and application development, 183 cases (40%) for platforms that analyze and process data on a computer server or on the cloud, 50 cases (11%) for platforms that manage communications between devices, and 12 cases (3%) for platforms that manage edge devices, and overall, fields supporting service provision and development constitute a large majority of these cases.
As for service standards using IoT platforms, there are 34 cases (7%) for healthcare, 31 cases (7%) for prevention of disaster/epidemics, 28 cases (6%) for energy, 26 cases (6%) for transport/transportation, and 22 cases (5%) for smart homes, it can be seen that IoT platforms are not limited to a specific field and are being applied to various services in various fields.
By applicant, there are 286 cases (63%) from companies (more than all other categories combined), 64 cases (14%) from university-industry cooperation organizations, 47 cases (10%) from research institutes, and 61 cases (13%) from individuals. This means that IoT platform technologies have already entered the commercialization stage in earnest.
As for the methods of communication between objects, there are 38 cases (23%) for Wi-Fi, 35 cases (21%) for Bluetooth, 22 cases (13%) for LoRaWAN, 19 cases (11%) for Zigbee, 18 cases (11%) for Ethernet, and 14 cases (8%) for 4G/5G mobile communications. Although Wi-Fi still occupies a high proportion, it can be seen that communication methods with low battery consumption (ZigBee, Bluetooth and LoRaWAN) are now also being widely used.
Meanwhile, applications in the form of convergence with advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, and virtual reality, such as technologies that improve data security by combining with blockchain, are also on the rise.