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My 2016 ANT+ Symposium Keynote and Session Videos

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For the last 6 years I’ve gone to the ANT+ Symposium held in the mountains outside of Calgary.  This annual event caps off the busy sports tech conference season (following Interbike & Eurobike).  Unlike those other two events though, this isn’t a trade show.  Rather, it’s a conference for companies that are largely in the sports technology realm to discuss products and standards.  And, it’s hardly limited to ANT+ these days.  Just as much conversation is focused on the end-state product as the protocols used.

While there are numerous technology and protocol sessions that happen, there are equally as many business/commercial focused sessions.  But more important than all of those is the discussions that happen outside the conference floor rooms.  They’re the discussions occurring on nearby trails running, riding, or hiking.  It’s these discussions that truly influence product direction, whether it be two companies discussing a partnership – or myself trying to convince a given company to implement your ideas.

In fact, that’s really the secret agenda of the ANT+ Symposium for me.  It’s effectively my hunting grounds to be able to convince companies to change products or platforms based on what I hear in thousands of comments each week from you.  I’m able to set that stage in a fairly public way through my annual keynote address.

This year that keynote session went back to being more of my standard ‘State of the Sports Tech World’ presentation, where I discuss different trends in the sports tech industry.  What was good, what was bad, what needs to happen next.  But since I’d been doing this 6 years, I thought it’d also be fun to go and review slides from 2010/2012/2014 and see what previously bad things have been corrected.

So if all that interests you (or, if you just have 53 minutes to burn) – go forth and enjoy!

Additionally, if you’d like to download this year’s keynote presentation (PDF), you can do so below (it’s sorta big).  Further, I’ve also linked to the 2010-2016 presentation files and to the 2011-2016 video clips.

DC Rainmaker 2016 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2015 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2014 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2013 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2012 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2011 ANT+ Symposium PDF (Watch here)
DC Rainmaker 2010 ANT+ Symposium PDF

Wowzers!

Understanding Social Media in Sports Tech:

I did a second shorter presentation on understanding social media in the sports tech landscape.  This is kinda a twist on last years presentation, but with more of a focus on how smaller companies can better navigate the sports tech social media and press landscape.

But like last year, I enjoy giving specific launch examples where companies have done things well (or poorly).  So it’s always a bit of inside baseball in this session:

You can download that session here (PDF).

Panel Discussion – IoT & Fragmentation:

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Then finally we’ve got a panel discussion that I sat in on.  You know what I love about panel discussions?  I don’t have to prepare for panel discussions.  I just show up and chat about the topics thrown out.  Sorta like a podcast, but with video and a bunch of other people.

Those people being: Doug Barton (IBM), Doug Daniels (Google), Rick Gibbs (North Pole Engineering), and Me.  It’s moderated by David Oro (IoT Central).

Here’s that goodness:

Phew!  Okey doke – thanks for watching!

Note: You can go back and see all my past ANT+ Symposium posts from all the years, here with one handy link!  Yes, even including when I ran into a moose on a run.

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22 Comments

  1. gingerneil

    I always find these sessions excellent – its great to see what is interesting to the industry and not just what pops out of the gadget making sausage machine. A window into a world that not many of us get to see.

  2. Tosin

    I wish more phones had the ANT+ sensors in them.

  3. Kyle

    I always find these keynotes very interesting. At the same time, I dont understand why Bluetooth will not be the standard. In the video above all you guys said there wont be a standard but bluetooth does everything that everyone wants. Also with the unreleased Bluetooth 5.0 it will be longer range, better battery and faster transfer speeds. Bluetooth is basically on any device that is released now whether its your phone, smartwatch, computer, car radio, camera, etc. I just basically see Ant as holding things back as its only uses in power meters and Garmin products.

    • chukko

      My (possibly biased) perception is, that BT being much more widely adopted is quite a slow behemoth – with much longer evolution cycles and more difficult for adoption by new companies/technologies.
      I also believe that it is more difficult to implement – anecdotal evidence might be the fact that you almost cannot find a single windows machine where the BT stack would operate flawlessly. And even mobile implementations have often rough edges.

    • While I think there will continue to be more convergence, it just doesn’t seem to be happening at the rate some say.

      For literally every year since I’ve been going to the ANT+ Symposium, folks have been predicting the death of ANT+. Yet, every year there’s roughly the same number of attendees and companies present, and in fact, since then the number of devices has grown. Doesn’t matter to me either way, but I find that notable.

      Now, from a technical standpoint, there are very real differences today in ANT+ vs BTLE. The biggest from a consumer standpoint is the lack of ability to multi-connect to a given BLE sensor. This is applicable in group/team/coaching scenarios, which continue to expand. Same goes for multi-device scenarios, which also seem to be expanding as people have more devices or apps. For example, the ability to record power/HR/etc on both your Garmin, but also in Zwift.

      The second is more backend, but has real implications for consumers, which is lack of BLE standards. Sure, there are mainstream profiles for HR/cadence sensors that apps can and do use today quite well. And those are great. But when it comes to BLE power meters for example, it continues to be a mess. The standard is there, but oft-not followed correctly. So even big-name companies like Polar, Stages, and PowerTap have consumers caught in the middle with things that don’t work with each other. That simply doesn’t happen on ANT+. And this has been going on for years now.

      Of course, that’s some of the freedom of Bluetooth (though, it’s there in ANT too) – which is the ability to create whatever you want, protocols be damned. And that leads to lots of cool stuff. But, it can also lead to problems when you need compatibility for devices to actually be usable (like, a power meter).

      While BT5 may solve some of these, I really don’t think it will. BT4.1 has allowed multi-sensor connectivity, and that’s almost 2 years old. Nobody has taken advantage of it. Bandwidth is rarely the issue for sensors, so again, not really a game changer. And range, ANT+ has historically usually had quite the advantage. People are doing it across indoor cycling velodromes today without issue.

      Again, just my two cents.

    • Jeff

      Bluetooth does not “Just Work”. Ant+ does.

      For example, the Trainer Road cannot yet be used with the Drivo on iOS (via BT), as the device it finds is Speed and Cadence only, and not power or controllable trainer.

      I can forgive (for maybe 6 months) Trainer Road for not having Elite’s flavour of BT Smart Control, but no power? …. meaning iOS is only usable with an (almost obsolete) 30 pin Wahoo key (key + lightening to 30 pin = £75)? That’ll be a Nope.

      i have had trouble with BT more than i have had a trouble-free experience.
      Ant+ has never been an issue (other than empty batteries).

  4. Mike S.

    Hi Ray

    A bit off-topic, but how do you rank Banff to some of the other mountainous parks you’ve visited in Europe?

    • It was great! I only saw a small portion of course, mostly around the village area, and then up a nearby mountain on a gondola.

      I think in some ways Banff (like many North American mountains) is more approachable to the casual visitor than most (but not all) European resorts, in terms of activities, taking a wander, etc… That means things like accessibility, etc… But also activities tend to be better structured in terms of last minute bookings and such.

      At the same time, what makes most European mountains so appealing is that there isn’t 19 layers of silly safety stuff, so you get to experience more of the mountain in a more raw state. You also tend to get less price-gauging in the Alps, simply because there’s so many options. Sure, at certain times things can cost more, but nowhere near the crazy mountain prices (i.e. food) that you get in the US.

      Of course – both are great and have their

    • Definitely! After living in Banff and now on the edge of the Alps, I was wondering just this week why I chose here. The freedom you have in the Alps, without all the safety restrictions and chance of being eaten by the local wildlife, is probably the main thing. However, when I can be out for a morning run 5 minutes from home (in what I would consider part of the city), and I encounter hunters and their dogs, I realise it’s not always a good thing.
      Also, Banff isn’t so much a resort town, as a town in the mountains. There is very little mountain biking (as it’s a national park) and no ski-in ski-out accomodation from town.
      Nature wise, outside of town, though, Banff is so much more…natural. It definitely wins. It’s much harder to escape to somewhere with no human impact in the Alps, while around Banff it’s mostly untouched.

  5. heiko

    Ray, maybe you could post your presentations as a PDF or something similar. Since it’s already embedded in the video, it’s obviously not top-secret ;)
    Would make flipping through your slides much easier!

  6. heiko

    aah..just found the link..sorry! thanks

  7. Jeff

    It would seem wrong not to watch these during a turbo session.
    The perfect accompaniment?

  8. You know, I bet you could do a good Ted Talk…

  9. maxfrance

    BT is (IMHO) possibly the worst s**t the computing industry ever produced.

    I’ve been struggling with it since its early appearances, when it was claimed to be the real solution to many everyday problems.

    It’s a pairing nightmare, and works 5 times out of ten, often after several tries.
    I hate it the most, and hope it will be replaced by ANT+ soon.

    Unfortunately, too few smartphones support it natively… :-(

  10. Jose I

    Thanks Ray. That was fantastic.

  11. Hamish B.

    Internet of things panel discussion – wow, very topical in light of the revelation that the big US DDoS attack has used a lot of IoT devices (mostly made by a single chinese company)! There will be some more attention paid to security on that platform now I guess!

  12. steve

    Really interesting to watch your presentations. They contain lots of good stuff that I hope companies make a note of.
    One thing regarding the presentation though: Make a pause once in a while! Let an important point sink in before continuing. It can almost feel a bit stressed after a while because you talk quite fast and take few and short pauses.

  13. Karl Billeter

    Took me a while to finally get around to watching this… I was just wondering if you’re on the Golden Cheetah user or dev lists? Of course it’s not exactly widespread consumer adoption but quite ahead of the curve. I think it was around october last year the discussion came up about permission for sharing (anonymised) data for open science. Support of FIT 2.0 for custom fields and XDATA within Golden Cheetah in recent releases, so even without widely adopted standards, new metrics can be used straight away – especially given R integration. I have no stake in it – just a fan of good work :-)