My 2013 ANT+ Symposium Keynote Presentation

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Last Thursday, for the fourth year in a row I presented to the ANT+ Symposium in Kananaskis, Alberta.  The ANT+ Symposium is the yearly gathering of all the major companies in the sector that make up the ANT+ Alliance, which includes over 350 organizations.  Everyone from Garmin to Quarq/SRAM to Wahoo Fitness, from Timex to Trek to Magellan, and from Sony to Samsung.  Virtually every major brand in the sports technology industry is there (except two: Polar and TomTom).

This year was no different.  The room was packed with folks, and I saw companies in some cases expand their presence with more engineers present (Garmin and Brim Brothers as examples).  At the Symposium you tend to get two specific categories of folks: Company leaders who can meet and make decisions on business to business deals, and then lead/division engineers who can also find opportunities for partnership between companies and understand what’s coming technologically at a deeper level.

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In the coming days I’ll talk about some of these companies and products that were there, as well as some of the topics that were being discussed.  And in fact, I allude to some of them in my presentation.

My presentation from year to year is generally aimed at giving an ‘outsiders’ view of the industry.  I try to bridge the gap between what I see and hear from millions of you each year, and what the industry thinks you want.  My goal here is ultimately to give your feedback to them in the most concise manner possible.  This year that squeaked in at just over an hour of fast-paced content.

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As always, I include my full and unedited presentation below for you to watch.  For those not in the sports technology industry you may find it a bit boring.  For those inside the industry, many consider it a ‘must watch’.

Obviously, I’ve only got an hour – so I focus on covering as much as possible with the widest and greatest impact.  My goal being to encourage the good things, and ‘correct’ the bad things.  While I’m speaking near the home of ANT+, and in front of almost the entire industry – I hold nothing back.  It’s sorta the way I do things.  Just like my product reviews, nobody is immune to being called out.

This year I start off with a bit of background and impact of the site to the industry (which explains in more clearly stated monetary reasons why they should listen to my crazy-talk), and then I move into the key trends that I see.  Finally, I finish up with a usual little snippet on how I conduct reviews.  I do this last little part primarily in an effort to save my voice following the presentation from having to re-explain it 28 times in the following days.

With that, here ya go!  Enjoy!

Additionally, if you’d like to download this year’s presentation (PDF), you can do so below (it’s sorta big).  Further, I’ve also linked to the 2010-2012 presentation files and to the 2011-2013 video clips.

DC Rainmaker 2013 ANT+ Symposium Presentation (Watch here/above)
DC Rainmaker 2012 ANT+ Symposium Presentation (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2011 ANT+ Symposium Presentation (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2010 ANT+ Symposium Presentation

Looking at the conference as a whole, look for little snippets of it in the week ahead as I’m able to.  There’s a lot of cool technology coming, from both small and large companies alike. As always, thanks for reading (and watching) in this case – I appreciate it!

(P.S. – Thanks to the ANT+ video/IT team for getting the video to me in a matter of hours)

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41 Comments

  1. Kenneth Trueman

    Uh,you do know that Greenland is part of Iceland and not Canada, unless you really do have that many readers in Greenland. :)

    Reply
  2. Mikael Schrage

    If any, Greenland is part of Denmark :-)

    Reply
  3. Jón Oddur Guðdmundsson

    Greenland is a part of Danmark, also the Faroe Islands both self governing. Iceland has been independed since 1944.
    Ps. It´s great to live in Iceland.

    Reply
  4. Roy

    Well done Ray! Excellent presentation! Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Max

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Really couldn’t agree more that Software should focus more on gamification. Also with the “pay for more functionality” model (with a free version that is included). We already see this in the gaming industry, this field is a bit lacking behind. I would like my training to be motivating and fun like a game. We will be there soon i’m sure!
    Good speech!

    Reply
  6. Drew W.

    Great presentation. I have to think that some of the technology companies lose sight of what the consumer wants in favor of where they can squeeze another dollar of profit when, as you said, prices are falling. That was clear in your slide/discussion about Strava abandoning their API.

    Hopefully your presentation was well received & will bring change for the better for the consumer.

    Reply
  7. David

    Your voice is deeper than I imagined!

    Reply
  8. Max

    Hey it’s me again,

    Would you happen to know where I can get information on the .fit and .tcx specifications?
    I know it’s xml but I would like to see the full specification.

    Best info I found so far :

    -.TCX
    -.FIT :?

    Thanks for being the community voice

    Reply
  9. philippe marc humbert

    Snooze. I gave up after 7 minutes of you bragging about your site.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Unfortunately, the reality of the business world works on numbers. Specifically, financial numbers. While many people in the industry know of the impact of the site without these numbers, I’m also keenly aware that when low and mid-level employees of large companies try to use my presentation to sway senior executives of some companies, they need more ammunition as to why they should listen to what I’m saying.

      For example, a Samsung executive weighing the possibility of doing ANT+ firmware in the S3 is unlikely to know who I am, but is very likely to understand the impact of what I’m saying with the right background. The same goes for senior executives at Suunto or Polar, who may not grasp the importance of the message I’m trying to deliver without such stats. If they believe that I’m going to talk to Wall Street analysts (as I frequently do) on trends that I believe will impact their business and profitability, they’re more likely to act. And I think that’s probably good for you, as consumers.

      Reply
    • Mark replied

      And if you look at the slide deck itself, it’s only five slides. So, really, not such a big deal after all.

      Reply
    • Alice replied

      you must be the most negative person ever…why comment if you got nothing constructive to say?!

      Reply
    • Frederico Epstein replied

      Ray did not have any obligation to share the presentation. It was a business presentation of a person who uses the devices we use. The impact for him is important as is for us, because he can influence the brands to improve the products according our needs. But Ray is a very open person and a enthusiast of sports, and maybe because that he allowed us to know him better sharing the presentation with us. Instead of being rude about that, use the time to make our sports community better and better as Ray does.

      Thank you Ray for sharing your thoughts about the next years of sport technologies.

      Fred (Salvador – Brazil)

      Reply
  10. Pascal

    I did not watch the presentation due to my data limit. I am curious if the big triathlon watch companies will take a dip into smart watches. Motoclav is the only one that’s come close and would be an excellent product if they stuck with it and released a 2nd and 3rd generation watch. It really seems like the way to go, let the customer download the software and make it the watch they wanted it to be. Maybe/hopefully google/Moto will reveal one Oct 31st.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think you’ll see it as a very slow dip. Almost unnoticeable. I think you’ll see them start to cover more of the health/wellnes category (like the Polar Loop) and then some day you’ll wake up and realize that the activity tracker is doubling as a ‘smart watch’ of sorts.

      Reply
  11. Mark

    DCR, thanks for encouraging companies to pay attention to their own forums. On your “What consumers want from you” slide:
    “If you have your own forums, actually be active in them”
    This would seem like such an obvious point that it shouldn’t even require mentioning, but evidently it does. Too often you get the response that these are just user forums for users to interact, and the company doesn’t monitor them. What a lame excuse, if not just total nonsense. Company X (or maybe company G): if YOU have set up forums on YOUR website, then YOU should actively participate in them.

    So, one example that goes both ways is Garmin. Previously notorious for their lack of attention to their own forums on their own website, Garmin has now made a point of participating in their Vector forum. Garmin reps going under the moniker VECTOR-INFO are providing lots of good info and assistance in the Vector forum. This probably represents how seriously the company is taking the Vector product.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Indeed, the Vector one is a really good example. I specifically mentioned that privately to their VP over the fitness/outdoor divisions, and he acknowledged it’s the direction they’re trying to turn in. In fact, close observers will note that the Garmin Swim team is doing the same on the forums (the handle they use isn’t as obvious though). I noted that others teams need to follow that lead, and he agreed.

      I think there’s some clear understanding going on now in the last couple months within the organization on the importance of listening to consumers and bugs. Like any big org, it’ll take take, but I really like what I’ve seen with the Vector team engagement on multiple fronts.

      Reply
    • Dave replied

      The Garmin Vector team seem to be paying a lot of attention to their forum, and so does the BaseCamp team, interacting with users and taking on board what they have to say. Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the Edge team. The Edge 810 forum is full of frustrated and angry users reporting the same issues with navigation over and over again (in short the device often crashes when you go off course and turn-by-turn navigation almost never works for the entire duration of a ride) yet the response when these issues are reported is always “no-one else has reported this issue”, “no-one from Garmin reads the forum so if you don’t report issues directly it’s your own fault”, “factory reset, update firmware, close case”…

      Reply
  12. Drew Keller

    Well done! Surprised myself and listened to the entire presentation. Very informative and insightful. Thanks for representing us, the customer!

    Reply
  13. John B

    In the year or two I have been following this outstanding blog I have read the ANT+ Symposium report. What is the reason for having the symposium in Kananaskis each year? Are the ANT+ gurus nearby?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup, Dynastream (which is the subsidiary that ANT+ basically is) is just down the road in Cochrane.

      Reply
  14. Matthias

    Totally agree on standardization. As a owner of the Ambit 2s I’m always struggling with transferring my data to TrainingPeaks. Should be easy for Suunto to implement a .fit export. Hopefully this feature will come with a future update of the movescount site *sigh*

    Reply
  15. David Youngman

    As a relative newcomer to your site, I had no idea what to expect from that presentation, but found it very interesting and informative :) Thank you for posting.

    To echo your initial comments in your presentation, I will not buy a sports gadget unless you give it a good review. A few friends have also stumbled across your site and also said the same thing (all ended up with 910s :) ). I hope the tech companies take note!

    Reply
  16. @Hu3ain

    Good presentation Ray! Thanks for pointing out what a consumer cares about: support, integration and connectivity. I wish you talked more about how companies can improve gamification.

    Is enough being done by Ant+ Alliance (cool name) to encourage the adoption of Ant+ on smartphones?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yup. I’d say that they are heavily focused on that. You’ll see that a bit in my Samsung post. That should be up within 24 hours. Just waiting on one tiny list of items back from the Samsung folks and it’ll be up (we’ve been e-mailing, but them being in Korea with a public holiday in the mix is slowing things a bit).

      Reply
    • Gerard replied

      You are right devices might be “Quickly falling behind phones in feature set” and yet no decent replacement for the Xperia Active

      Reply
  17. Jim L

    NIKE listen up about open data and open API!

    Reply
  18. Avi

    Ray, Great presentation! Thank you for bringing my voice tot he developers.

    Reply
  19. GARMIN listen up about open data and open API!

    Reply
  20. Wes Howarth

    Loved the presentation, found it erally infomratiive.

    I wished the companies would listen more to thier users, Garmin for example don’t and regulalry remove functionality from thier devices.

    Reply
  21. Eli

    Isn’t the argument behind having high speed data, left/right power, and the rest of the new power metrics the same as why devices should record r-r heart rate data. There may not be apps out there that can do something with that data now but if the data is there it can be used down the line. You would think with how cheap memory is these days they wouldn’t mind recording lots of different data points

    Reply
  22. Daniel

    Thank you for posting the presentation, very helpfull!

    Reply
  23. Randy

    Regarding gamification, what about a site like Fitocracy? I haven’t tried it myself, but my understanding is that there are some apps and/or you can use it with RunKeeper.

    Reply
  24. Atlantis

    Nice review. But i think you forgot two points, not expressed fully at least :
    1/ the complementary of tracking sources to ensure a maximum availaility/precision/simplicity : gathering gps, glonass and accelerometer in tomtom is an exemple you seem to have enjoyed (enough for me to buy one lol). You should have have dropped a word about galileo or other forecoming techs to make them pro-active.
    2/ not stressed enough the “fusion” part of different devices. Like for exemple HRM at wrist integrated in phone/watch or like piloting mills with phone/watch. The less equipements, the more reliable, the better to focus on sport.

    I think one thing underestimated too is the both way communication of hardware and software, to plan/custom your training based on statistics output from software and transmitting it to hardware to drive your session and/or to modify your training program. Some do partially, but most not at all. Nowdays hardware sends data to soft to analyse them into stats, but that is all, no real loop/interaction.

    Phone is kinda lazy competitor : it is behind, ensuring all old valid technology is fused into one cheap place. Dedicated devices have to evolve or die, they have 4-5 years to live before getting blackholed in phones. As simple as that.

    Reply
  25. great presentation.. love that you promote standards and web services, hope the industry hears you.. and also that consumers really are smart enough to see interoperability as a must-have feature.

    Reply
  26. Gildas Houmard

    What a great presentation ! Thanks for being the consumer voice, and taking care of our needs.

    Ray, I know this conference was about ANT+ but do you know if a future Bluetooth standard (maybe 5.0) will be more “multicasting” vs “pair” and enable to connect a device to multiple “masters”.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Thanks!

      There’s talk about it, and there are some edge-case ways to do it – but today not in a standard method, and not in a way that anyone is actually using because it’s just not practical for today’s use cases.

      Reply
  27. Ray, as somebody who has been following you for a while, let me reiterate what I said in the comments on the youtube page. This presentation is GOLD for anybody in these (soon-to-be) overlapping industries of sports tech and lifestyle / activity tracking. This can and should be mined and reviewed and analyzed by ANY product management team in the space. Great work. I still can’t believe this isn’t your full-time job. But that’s probably what makes you so valuable – your utter lack of bias. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

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