My 2012 ANT+ Symposium Presentation


For the third straight year in a row, I’ve presented a keynote session yesterday at the ANT+ Symposium.  In presenting here I’m able to address the vast majority of the sports technology industry, from the big player names you hear daily (Garmin, Timex, etc..) to the companies that design the components they use (Texas Instruments, Nordic Semiconductor), to all the smaller companies that support and compete with those devices (Wahoo, Clothing+, Alphamantis, 4iiii’s, and many more you’ve never heard of).

It’s the one time each year that I get the opportunity to tell your story – you as users of the products and services they make.  I’m able to encapsulate everything you tell me and pull it into a semi-cohesive message to them.  Additionally, I’m able to give them areas that I think need more focus, or attention.

It’s also worth point out, that I actually talk very little about ANT+ during the presentation – instead, it’s more general about the industry, which is why I often included Polar in many of my examples as well.

This year, I split the presentation a bit though compared to past years.  The first half was focused on the technology – what’s been big this year, what’s coming, what’s being ignored – what’s working, what’s not.  But the second half I focused on ‘consumer engagement’.  In other words, how do these companies actually interact with you.  And where are they doing a good (or bad) job?

This was interesting because I feel that over the past year there’s been more frustration with how companies respond to (or don’t) issues and their products.  Whether it be promised firmware updates, or being present in the forums you visit.  I give a rundown of the top frustration points that I hear from you, and how companies can address them.

So, without further ado – here’s the whole presentation – about an hour all-in.  I know it’s long, but if you have to pick a half and are a consumer, go with the first half.  If you’re a company…well…watch the whole thing.  I’ve been told in the past it’s ‘must watch’ material for any sports technology company employee.

2012 DCR ANT+ Keynote Session

Additionally, if you’d like to download this year’s presentation (PDF), you can do so below (it’s sorta big).  Additionally, I’ve also linked to the 2011 and 2010 presentations.  You can watch the 2011 presentation at this link though.

DCRainmaker 2012 ANT+ Symposium Presentation
DCRainmaker 2011 ANT+ Symposium Presentation
DCRainmaker 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!


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  1. Great talk. Have you ever made an attempt to see if any of your comments in previous years have been taken to heart by the development community?

    It would be interesting to see just how much your comments are driving change in the industry and getting them out of their bubble and implementing consumer based changes!

  2. Ray,

    I watched your presentation and as a whole I loved what you had to say. I was confused by one comment that you made though about the different devices that are available. you said “Let’s be honest, nobody cares about swimming devices, because swimmers don’t wear devices”.

    I would have to disagree with that. I am extremely interested in swimming watches and I have been researching all of the available units on the market today. While none of them seem to do exactly what I think they should be capable of, I hope they get there soon.

    There are two things that I am looking for in a watch:

    1. Incorporating Optical Heart rate targeted for swimming so that I can monitor HR in the water.

    2. A watch that would allow me to setup a workout (including drills) to follow on the watch. I have a feature request in with Garmin for the 910XT / Swim to have this added, but I am not holding my breath. You can see my post here link to

  3. It was actually in reference to a forum for swimmers with devices. :) Kinda hard to see on the slide deck from that angle.

    But, fear not – I love swimming devices, and definitely agree that there’s some huge potential in the pool. The challenge is getting a company to go from half-hearted to all-in. Many of them are half-hearted today.

    Like you’ve see with the FR910XT and Swim, there’s this break where they aren’t including areas like workouts (which would make a ton of sense).

    The ‘swimmers don’t wear devices’, is a bit of a play on one of the rules of a high end swimmer (which I am not) that says that thou shall never watch a watch.


  4. I see…I couldn’t read the slide.

    I used to swim competitively through High school, and after 20 years I am getting back in the pool to trim down the belly and get into a shape other than round. After two months of self motivated training 4 days a week averaging 2 miles a day…I am down two pant sizes and about 10 lbs. It would have been really interesting to be able to track my progress from day 1 and watch my weight and body fat decrease, and see my speed increase.

    Being an IT manager/gadget geek, I love seeing all of the new gadgets that are out now, I would just love to see more focus on swimming. I have put forth comments now to Garmin and Finis to gauge where they stand on adding new features, but like I said….I’m not holding my breath.

    It’s frustrating when they are sooooo close, yet so far away!

  5. I would be interested to hear your opinion on my suggestion to Garmin. It makes perfect sense to me, and I think it would make it a real stand out feature for lap swimmers.

  6. Any insight from Garmin on their data retention and DR planning? I have nearly 600 activities and Garmin states:

    “Garmin does not have a stated time frame for the storage of data in GarminConnect accounts. Recovery process are propriety information and is not available.

    For important activity data, individuals are encouraged to back up their own data. Please feel free to contact us for further support.”

    To me this is Garmin stating that Garmin Connect is a dangerous place to store your data. They might delete it and won’t tell you if they have backups or anything in place to protect you. No bulk export options exist in GC so Garmin’s advice on backing up important data is the same as saying to manually export every record individually.

  7. Ray,
    with the Alpha watch, how tight do you have to crank it down on your wrist? I ask b/c over longer runs, with swelling, I wonder how uncomfortable it can get. I know for IM distance events, by the run, I’m usually loosening my watch strap so my hand can get blood. But if it starts tight, I worry about ones ability to have the watch work, but also not have it being uncomfortably tight.

  8. Developers of products should be visiting, reading and listening to what users are saying and requesting on forums and social media. If they answer questions on the forums then that might reduce support calls. I always search forums because it is unlikely I will be the first person who encounters a problem.

    I would also like to see firmware updates come out at regular intervals and maybe even introduce new features from time-to-time. It appears the Garmin devices have a long life span before a new products replaces it so why not add a few requested features.

    As a fellow competitor and spectator, age group sponsorship means so much more to me than seeing professionals wearing products. I just love Ray’s video of the final minutes of the Iron Man. These are the people I admire most on the course. They usually work, train and have families.

  9. I’ve just watched the presentation, really interesting.

    I was surprised to hear at the start how few of the people who visit the blog come via readers. They’re great and I can’t believe everyone isn’t using them!

  10. Will

    Hi Ray,

    Great talk. It was all so true!

    Have you by accident specifically spoken with the people of Garmin about their lack of support on their own forums?

    By the way, which Twitter application is it that you use?

  11. Yeah, we had a very long (and productive) conversation about the lack of support in their forums. In short, while there’s a Garmin Support person in there doing an awesome job, he’s really only part of the solution. They need more people, and they need different people (people from the product groups), otherwise all that features/functionality feedback is lost.

  12. Oh, and the Twitter app is one on Windows 8 – TweetPro.

  13. Will

    Thanks, Ray!

  14. FYI…the CycleOps Joule GPS supports multiple user profiles, so it can be shared amongst family members.