Shifting Tides: Ebbing Away From Platform Development

A notable shift is occurring among the top companies in the energy financial settlement sector that could be a signal for where the hotbed of activity will be within the sector for the foreseeable future. Within the past two years, Johnson Controls, Samsung, and Sony have pivoted their patent portfolios hard to begin claiming territory within the financial exchange space where they previously had no presence. Itron and ABB have restarted portfolio development within the space where they have previously been dormant. On top of these developments Causam Enterprises, the king of the financial exchange space, has just had a host of patent publications and approvals the size of which has not occurred for the company, or anyone else, since early 2015.

Johnson Controls, Samsung, Sony, Itron, and Causam are all leaders in the energy financial settlements sector. With the exception of Causam, the most robust portion of these companies portfolios is platforms for energy financial settlement, making the sudden shift in focus unusual. What is more unusual is how these major players moving away from the platform space coincides with Intel trying to move into the space as previously discussed. If you are not caught up on Intel’s movements within the sector go read the article which can be found here.

This shift does not look to be sparked by a new technology per se. Excluding Itron’s new publications teaching of blockchain overlapping with Causam’s due to their entire business model being pioneering blockchain for energy transactions, each of the above listed companies has a different idea they are developing. The shift could be because the platform space is saturated, but Johnson Controls is still heavily investing in the space and the number of patent application publications and issued patents has not noticeably slowed down. A common thread among these patent documents does exist though. In each case the goal of the patent document goes beyond inventing new ways to improve the settlement of energy sales and into energy management and conservation.

That some of the biggest players are moving to the financial exchange space to develop their energy saving ideas, and that Causam’s patent tide has come in again, signals that the way to energy efficiency may no longer be in hardware. Instead, software and raising consumer awareness of energy usage may be new horizon.

See the rest of the field at Patent Forecast’s Energy Financial Settlements forecast and do your own analysis of Johnson controls, Samsung, Sony, Itron, ABB, and Causam.

Itron and ABB’s patent activity over the last ten years
Samsung and Johnson Controls’ patent activity for the last ten years
Causam and Sony’s patent activity for the last ten years