Compatibility of Wearable Fitness Trackers

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Sufferlandrians everywhere are asking to integrate their wearable devices with the Sufferfest App.  We get quite a few inquiries about this at Sufferlandrain Services.  We are looking at integrating wearable devices in the future but right now it is the equivalent of doing 3 Revolver workouts in a row.  We want to offer this capability but the wearable fitness industry isn't making it easy.  We do support wearable fitness trackers that transmit ANT+ data signals on an open channel.  You can find a list of those devices in our Master Device Compatibility List.  Just navigate to the "Watches" Tab.  

Most of the wearable devices are a simple platform to track and measure your athletic performance over time.  They do wonderful things like integrate with your phone, track heart rate, GPS position, speed, calories and many other activities.  You can see the below screen shot from a company like FitBit and all of the options they offer in their App service.  Understanding that each device has it's own App is also important in this conversation.  Let's talk about that next.  

Sufferlandrians cannot have a conversation about integrating wearable devices with the Sufferfest App, without understanding why access to these devices is so restrictive.  Companies who create wearable devices are also up-selling their in-app services.  To get full access to your information, these companies charge an annual fee for full access to your data within their App.  If companies who make wearable technology make the data open for third party app use, then they lose the possibility to increase additional revenue through their App.  

But my wearable device connects to Strava!  Sufferlandrian services hears this from our customers.  Yes, some wearable devices like the Apple watch will connect to Strava.  This is only accomplished because Strava has created an App for the Apple watch.  There is the possibility that The Sufferfest can create an App for the Apple watch that will integrate with The Sufferfest App.  However, we have a bunch of priorities right now that like making others suffer better, so we won't be getting to this anytime soon. 

My wearable device uploads my data to Strava.  That is correct.  Most wearable devices will have the option to record your data and link it to MyFitnessPal, Strava, and many other third party apps.  They even use the health app within the iPhone to transfer your data over to your Strava account.  We have the same option to transfer your in-ride Sufferfest workout data over to Strava.  However, we cannot receive real time data from a wearable device that will display on our App (Except for certain Garmin Watches that transmit open ANT+ signals).  We also cannot integrate this data into your Sufferfest workout at this time.  We might be able to do this in the future, but again, we need to bring other capabilities online first.  

My device works with TrainerRoad/Garmin Computer, why doesn't it work with the Sufferfest App? Great question.  Keep in mind, that if the device just uploads the workout file to another app, then it is really not providing live data the way you think it is.  The device is most likely using it's own app to upload data and not displaying real time data within that 3rd party app.  

Conclusion

The Minions for Sufferlandrian Services hope that this article gives you a better understanding of how complex the wearable environment is right now.  If you have any more questions, feel free to send us an email.  For now, we will look at integrating other wearable fitness trackers in the future if the industry makes it easier.  

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Comments

2 comments
  • Fitbit has an open API does your app take in the information from their Charge2, Surge, Blaze and Charge HR trackers which measure heart rate?

  • Not at this time Gareth. I know Fitbit was under litigation for HR inaccuracies last January.  There is still a lot of development that needs to be done with wrist based HR Readings.  I had a Fitbit Charge HR and can attest that it is not accurate.  However, with Fitbit's open API, we can look at this in the future if they can do a better job reporting accurate HR's.  However, building in these sorts of things take time and it is not on our priority list at this moment.  

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