The Density and Complexity of the Quantified Tools Ecosystem is Increasing Rapidly
Here is a first pass at capturing some of the major integration points (and directions) between the various sensors, mobile phone apps, watches, bands, scales, hardware vendor sites, and aggregator sites. This is only a small part of what’s really there. Interesting to see how quickly this is getting extremely complicated.Some interesting things that came from looking at the pattern:
- Lifestyle tools (wrist bands, scales) are merging with health tools (blood glucose monitors, pulse oximeters), and the data is being aggregated with fitness information from GPS watches in platforms like Digifit.com and Withings.com (check out their partner list). Side-note: I’ve used Digifit. Unfortunately it’s very very slow (we’re talking 20-40 seconds to get a page to load if you have data in their system. Interesting idea, poor technical execution so far.
- There are very clear sub-segments emerging: “medical”, “lifestyle improvement”, “Couch to 5K”, amateur single-sport or dual-sport consumers, multi-sport athlete, hardcore single or multi-sport athletes, industrial/tactical / backcountry athletes — and all of them have different needs. No one tool suits all of them. Many are a complete NON-Fit.
- APIs and platforms matter. Strava made a mess of their API partnerships last year. Garmin, despite being the best connected of all of the sport watch manufacturers still has no real API story.
- Speaking of Garmin, between the three watches I’ve tested, I now have 2 different iPhone apps, 7 different desktop applications, and the watches connect over USB, bluetooth, and/or Wifi. They know it’s bad so they bake it into their apps. When you plug in watch A, the software will say “oh, no you need this OTHER application and it will download it for you. Convenient but wouldn’t it be better to have less of a mess to begin with? I’m still not quite sure what app does what..
- APIs or not, being on an island sucks. I’m looking at you Suunto, Basis, and Nike.
- Viiiiva continues to be an interesting player in that they are helping bridge old and new with their dual-band HR straps.
Without further ado, here is the messy draft. Enjoy. Feel free to leave comments at the end of this post. In particular feel free to add corrections. It has a long way to go.