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Suunto expands TrainingPeaks support, as well as opens integration doors

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The easy title for this post would simply be “Suunto adds TrainingPeaks support”, but that’d be both confusing and only half-correct. First, Suunto as a company has actually long sync’d to TrainingPeaks from their Movescount platform. That’s the platform that up until last year was Suunto’s primary online platform.

But with the introduction of the Suunto 3 and then Suunto 9 watches, Suunto has shifted the focus to their ‘Suunto’ platform, which is essentially the Sports Tracker platform re-branded and expanded. That platform has had some moderate limitations for more advanced athletes, though it is getting better slowly, month by month. Still, for most advanced athletes (defined in terms of either technology or athletic capabilities), I’d suggest sticking with Movescount for now.

In any event, if you sync’d your watch to the Suunto platform (since that’s also a separate app), that platform can now sync to TrainingPeaks as well.  Here’s a 7-second PowerPoint slide I whipped up:

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Got it? Good.

But that’s actually not what’s interesting. I mean, sure, it is, but not really. What’s interesting is what’s coming. Here, let me explain.

API Expansion:

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Within the sports tech world there’s more than a few quirks when it comes to how well or easily companies can integrate with each other. Generally, from an online standpoint, this is done as via API’s (Application Programming Interfaces), whereas if something is on the watch itself, it’s called an SDK (Software Development Kit).

To date, Suunto has had highly limited API’s. They had a handful of super-high level partner API’s only. And even then, it was mostly Suunto staff using these API’s to connect to 3rd party company API’s (i.e. Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc…). Rather than the other way around.  While they did have an e-mail address you could query for platform access, my understanding from numerous folks is that you had better luck e-mailing the moon for a response.

But, that changes today. Well, last week actually. There are basically 3.5 ways someone can integrate with Suunto:

1) Suunto Cloud API: This is connecting to the Suunto online platform where workouts go and such
2) Suunto Movesense: This is leveraging Suunto’s sensor lineup to build products (I talked about that previously, which has hugely expanded now)
3) Suunto Watch Features: This is where you’ve got a cool idea and want it to be in a watch itself (since Suunto no longer has a watch app platform)
3.5) Suunto ‘Value Pack’: This is basically a marketing thing where you give Suunto customers something interesting

The second item there has been around a while, though now things are a bit more consolidated.  Certainly the last option has also been there too (for example, new Suunto customers get a free month of TrainingPeaks Premium now).  And watch features have always been an option if you could find the right contact point.

But now all of that is handily on a single page where you can go to find the right contact point:

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But I’m mostly interested in the Suunto API bit. That’s the piece that allows you to get data files from Suunto’s online platform and do something interesting with them. We’ve seen the overwhelming success of this with Strava, which has tens of thousands of registered developer partners (yes, tens of thousands).

In talking about the platform last week with Suunto, they admit they’re starting small, but do have big plans. For now, the main thing you’ll be able to do is access the workout .FIT data. In fact, all of that’s documented here now:

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There are some limitations to this at present. For example, you can’t (yet) push workout data into Suunto’s platform via the API. They say that’s probably a few months out or so.  Why’d you want to do that?

Well, I asked about the hypothetical scenario where someone wants to create a gonna-change-my-watch migration app that migrates data from Garmin Connect (or Polar) to Suunto, whether they could do that in an above-board manner. And without a way to import data to Suunto, that’s trickier to do.

Additionally, if for example, TrainingPeaks were to push workouts from the TrainingPeaks platform to Suunto’s platform, that’d require a bit of bidirectional support as well. And it sounds like that very scenario is on whiteboards waiting to be implemented. Of course, that would also require a significant upgrade to the structured workout processing aspect on Suunto’s watches as well, to be able to handle all the things (targets/etc…) that TrainingPeaks can throw at it.

Still, the API does allow someone *today* to make a Suunto to Dropbox app. In fact, I challenge someone to do so, as I’d love to use it and talk about it (tomorrow). I almost always use a Suunto device as part of my GPS track comparison test fleet, and having the files end up instantly on Dropbox would make me super happy. But that’s just one example. There’s tons of creative things people have done with the API on Strava, such as deep workout analytics and such.

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Now, my understanding is that the team and folks responsible for this flew back Friday morning, so they’d have arrived Saturday. I joked with them that they’d have a pile of requests waiting for them come Monday morning.  Of course, I also flew back this weekend and ended up slightly more tired on those flights than I expected.

Still, my challenge to you is simple here: Make use of this.

Certainly it does sound like in the past these requests went more or less nowhere. But now they had a big wall at CES that highlighted their desire to push forward the API and partners. I think they’re getting the importance of this. There’s not yet been an example of a successful sports tech company without any API or SDK. Even Apple, for all its walled-garden approach, has a very powerful Apple Watch OS and Health Kit development side.

Going forward:

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As I noted back at the time of the Suunto 9 launch, Suunto has no intention of trying to compete with Garmin on features. And Polar has said the same. Both companies know they simply don’t have the development staff to do so (though, perhaps after Suunto’s new influx of acquisition cash, they might). Instead, they need to compete on stability, pricing, and accuracy.  But in order to do so they’ve still got to connect to the platforms people want to be on, and in the ways people want them. Suunto certainly seems to be recognizing that.

As I noted above, opening up an API is really a two-way street (most of the time). In this case Suunto has opened their doors, but now it’s up to developers and the industry to ‘do cool stuff’. If folks don’t take advantage of it, then we’ve all got nobody to blame but ourselves. Whereas, if folks request and Suunto doesn’t deliver, then the blame lies more in Helsinki.

I’m optimistic Suunto will take the Strava approach of ‘all developer access is good developer access’, at least in terms of giving people access to the API. Obviously you’ve got safeguards for privacy and authorization and stuff, but for the most part Strava approves virtually all developer API requests, and then if they see something fishy, they’ll deal with it then. That helps create apps, like VeloViewer, which may start off as no-name single developer apps, but quickly expand into being found in almost every WorldTour pro cycling team car (and much more). It’s easy to only look at the big fish (as Garmin’s API platform restrictions mostly do), but forget that in the fast-moving tech world, the majority of the innovative stuff comes from the small fish.

As such, I’m looking forward to seeing what folks come up with.

With that – thanks for reading!

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56 Comments

  1. Frank

    Oopsie in text: “Still, the API does day does”

  2. Frank

    Too bad that Garmin asks an insane $5000,- fee for their API access (link to developer.garmin.com), that makes any non-profit sync/migration tool not realistic.

    Probably the whole reason Garmin asks this ridiculous fee is to lock you into their platform.

    • “Probably the whole reason Garmin asks this ridiculous fee is to lock you into their platform.”

      Nope, the main reason is to keep out small developers.

      I’ve long argued it’s stupid more times than I can count. Garmin does usually give away access if you attend many of their Connect IQ summits or classes at the ANT+ Symposium. Still, it’s limiting.

    • Frank

      Would be much smarter if they had a free API without any tech support, you could see some really cool innovations. Then let larger developers pay for tech support, service level agreements and early access to new features (etc.)

    • I agree.

      That’s mainly the reason they claim they don’t want to offer a free API – is support. But given Strava (a much smaller entity) has thousands of developers with free API support, that reasoning kinda rings hollow.

    • Eli

      Just have a forum like they do for Connect IQ. I can see limiting the API calls free developers can make in that some calls may be expensive (cpu/memory/bandwidth) so improper use could cause an issue but others shouldn’t.

    • I like your comment “getting a response is like emailing the moon” Trying to get any reply from Garmin about their API is just the same. I can see why they put up the $5,000 “roadblock” to stop hobbyists wanting support, but basically saying “pay us $5,000 then we will talk to you” limits the apps that Garmin users can upload from. This hurts Garmin owners more than it hurts the apps.

    • Eli – Yup, totally agree.

      Mike – Also agree. As I’ve tried to explain to Garmin hundreds of times – companies and users are willing to give them free market research data on their competitors. Every other company in the world pays for this stuff, yet here users are partners want to give Garmin the data that shows exactly what competitive devices their users also use (and thus where Garmin might be missing opportunities to make devices, or inversely, where not to waste time on it). It’s mind-boggling to me.

  3. Matthew

    I am waiting to see what happens now with the Suunto App and new platform.

    Will this new API mean that apps such as Sporttracks will be able to connect into the new Suunto platform?

    My movescount app told me that i can now connect my ambit3 to the suunto app. I had a try with it, but it still seemed to be missing important features like ability to customise screens and sports, as well as not currently being able to link to Sporttracks.

    It does seem that movescount is on its way out – is there any more news on this?

    For now, i will stick with movescount, but it seems its days are numbered.

    • “Will this new API mean that apps such as Sporttracks will be able to connect into the new Suunto platform?”

      Yes, it should allow that.

    • Aaron Averill

      Pros:

      1. We (partners) now have an official channel to integrate to the API, and transparent** (caveat: see below) policy for approval and inclusion in the program.

      2. Suunto seems to be hinting at more powerful integration than Garmin has interest in to/from their cloud platform, with innovative possibilities.

      Cons:

      1. It still seems to be a manual process for approval, and the website mentions a wait of 2 weeks. (and, perhaps, you are not approved? or there is a priority system? or… ?). 😭 It is a pity in 2019 that so much of this still needs to be manual and business processes seem to be stuck in last decade.

      2. Suunto’s track record on web technology is rocky. We are hopeful things will mature as they’ve partnered with Microsoft it seems. Consumer become more skeptical each time a company hits “reset” on a product without good reason.

  4. the5krunner (tfk)

    “make a Suunto to Dropbox app. In fact, I challenge someone to”

    and in the afternoon please knock one up for Polar FLOW to double the Kudos. I would be doubly, forever grateful.

    • Aaron Averill

      Public Service Announcement: link to github.com

      It’s python, for the curious.

    • I was about to create the Suunto/Dropbox thing for you as a Logic App (this would take 10 minutes, and interestingly the platform is hosted on Azure anyway so easy to integrate and probably has Swagger 🙂 ). The Suunto API form is many, many pages. It’s not obvious how to even sign up (I don’t want to be a partner, I just want access to the API. It’s gonna take up to two weeks to review my (mostly blank) submission.

      Sorry, it’s not going to be tomorrow 🙁

    • Dan G

      tapiriik.com . It’s excellent.

    • the5krunner (tfk)

      thanks @dan and @Aaron
      yes i know and use tapiriik – there’s also fitnesssyncer and syncmytracks which i use from time to time and also a few tools that dabble in this area. none quite do what I want.

      for me it would need to be able to work over more than one account per platform and transfer the full data to a folder of my choice (tapiriik doesn’t quite do that, unless I am mistaken)

    • Bero

      And a Polar to Onedrive app please

  5. Alberto

    With an API connected to TrainingPeaks to add fit workouts files, they are, in short, externalising thosw features to TrainingPeaks.

    I would be thinking of changing, but, alas, I have some Ant+ only sensors…

    • To be fair, Wahoo externalized the structured pieces as well, most folks are pretty happy with that.

    • Thanos Gatos

      However, as the situation is today, the syncing between Suunto and TrainingPeaks is only one-way: syncing activities from the watch, say Suunto 9, to Suunto app (to be current), to TrainingPeaks.

      To my best understanding, there is no way to sync workouts from TrainingPeaks to the watch–not yet at least!

  6. Giles E

    Ability to import a gpx / tcx etc route to the Suunto app is still a gigantic hole to force one into staying with Movescount. This really needs fixing, hopefully with ridewithgps integration.

    • The new beta of the Suunto App (iOS) from today comes with gpx-import. 😉

    • Thanos Gatos

      Moreover, you can pretty much do this on Android too (note that I’m using a Suunto 9 Baro with the latest FW and the latest version of Suunto App):

      1. Get the gpx file on your phone using any way you want (Dropbox, Google Drive etc work great).
      2. Use a file manager (Solid Explorer works great for others and me for this, whereas ES File Explorer that I was using until now did not work) to navigate to the gpx file and “open with” Suunto App.
      3. You have the route in Suunto App and can go ahead and save it, as well as select the option to sync it to the watch.

  7. Hm, reading this statement at link to apizone.suunto.com: ‘The API will be provided to companies, organisations who are providing tools / apps / services for public audience. We currently don’t offer the API access for personal use.’, for me it seems, that their API isn’t still that wide open to (smaller) thirdparty (independent) developers.

    One must see how Suunto will behave towards smaller developers in the near future. It they aren’t that opened, not much will probably change.

  8. Andrew

    So does this mean my Ambit2 will be useless after they wind down in 2020? Not clear from the press release. It says they’ll migrate activities but that doesn’t answer the question.

    • It’s a bit fuzzy. It states that they’ll add an app allowing you to upload to the new platform, so you’ll still be able to do that.

      However, things like apps aren’t clear. What happens if you have an app on your watch? Does it go away? same goes for POI’s, which I don’t think are in the new Suunto platform (offhand from memory), yet. I sent over some questions earlier today asking a few related things.

      Will report back once I hear back.

    • Matt H

      Wow, just read the email about the wonderful new changes, your Suunto Ambit 3 will have “basic compatibility” with the new Suunto app and the Movescount site will be wound down by 2012.
      So someone could buy an Ambit 3 Peak for £349 today only for it to be landfill in a years time? Way to go Suunto. I was annoyed when the Extract to… function was removed from the iOS app AND the desktop site request being ignored (meaning a need for a laptop while hiking up a mountain), now my top of the range watch (when I bought it) is going to be junk in a year’s time?
      Massive own goal for them here unless they can provide either FULL backward compatibility OR failing that the oft requested stand alone program that will allow complete functionality.
      I for one will definitely go to a Garmin for my next watch unless they do some serious back pedalling!
      I dread to think how the people with the previous ANT+ Ambits will be feeling – See concerned comment lower down.

    • Andrew

      There are alternatives — openambit will get your data out without Movescount, and maybe others. So planned obsolescence or not there are options. Even if they require a bit more work. I certainly don’t want to get rid of my Ambit2 S anytime soon. There hasn’t yet been an in-watch bell or whistle that has justified (to my mind) several hundred dollars’ investment, and I likely won’t upgrade till this thing explodes or rots off my wrist.

  9. Marek

    Does anyone know how well Suunto work with Concept2 machines? Garmin is still terrible. Thanks!

    • Out of curiosity, what apps do you use with your concept2?

      I’ve also been frustrated by lack of garmin support.

      Also, I played with pushing my workouts from Concept2 Logbook to Strava, but the rowing power data gets merged with my cycling data so it contaminates my power curves.

    • Marek

      I use the ErgData app on my phone, this is then synced to Concept2 logbook and from there to Garmin because their native Rowing app is useless. But I still turn on “Rowing” activity on my Garmin watch as this is the only way to get the Garmin tracking like “Intensity minutes”. I tried “ErgIQ” app for Garmin but at least on Fenix 3 it is not ideal and when you use that intensity minutes are not counted. This might be different on newer watches though.
      Not sure how it is with their BikeErg … must be even bigger mess! I wish Concept2 monitor would just broadcast Power Cadence and Speed or whatever else would simulate normal indoor bike.

    • Gotcha yeah, I do the same thing, I have a forerunner 935 and tried the ErgIQ app but I didn’t stick with it for whatever reason. I think maybe bc I wanted my Aerobic Training Effect score and that wasn’t generated otherwise.

      I’ve been considering hacking something together for a while. Will let you know if I do.

    • Sam

      On your forerunner 935 make sure you have TrueUp turned on, wear it while you work out (no activity recording necessary), and it shouldn’t be an issue for it to calculate intensity minutes. Even though your phone is recording the activity your watch is still tracking your activity. This should work for the Fenix too but I don’t have one to try.

      I also wish C2 would just broadcast ANT+ (and Bluetooth!) like my Wattbike does. But Wattbike doesn’t have a backlit screen like the C2 PM5. My biggest issue with C2 is the debacle of updating firmware. It takes new batteries, a computer, maybe a flash drive, and at least 10 min (much praying that it works is optional). I can do the Wattbike in about 30 sec, also with a computer though. There should be an app for this. No, it should be automatic like my 935!

      I guess I’ll just go back to my erg and continue rowing now…

    • Sam

      Also, check out the KREW app. It’s currently in development but you can help make it what you want! It is definitely beta but once released will knock the socks off of Ergdata. https://www.krew.fit

    • Sam

      Also, check out the KREW app. It’s currently in development but you can help make it what you want! It is definitely beta but once released will knock the socks off of Ergdata. https://www.krew.fit

    • I tried link to liverowing.com a while back but didn’t stick with it because it was too buggy.

      Had several workouts where it crashed and then didn’t save my data, so now I’ve just stayed with ErgData which is reliable.

      Would be interested in trying Krew when it’s live.

    • Sam

      KREW is very much in beta right now but they are updating it every week or so and taking all of the feedback to heart when they do. I am still using Ergdata at the moment but I like how KREW can program workouts in the monitor for me.

      In regard to a previous comment about intensity minutes, if you are using a wrist/arm HR monitor while rowing you may want to check that it’s accurate and if not probably need to switch to a chest strap. Measuring HR on an arm while you are using that arm (such as with rowing) can be an issue. There was a long Strava thread about this and I’ve seen it on several rowing forums including Rowsandall. I can’t find the links at this very moment from my phone but I’m sure you can Google it if you want to learn more. I personally use the activity data from my Garmin more for amusement than anything else.

  10. Luca Maurizi

    I received yesterday an e-mail from Suunto telling me that they are going to shut down Movescount summer 2019 at the earliest and move everything to the Suunto App.What happens with Ambit 1 and 2 (no bluetooth)? Do they plan to open a desktop version of the App? I actually own an Ambit 2 (as many others) and I am very happy with it, it would be sad if there won’t be any chance to upload training sessions in the future. Does anybody know something?

    • Carsten

      same here… still two Ambit 2 in use, cause of the ANT+ capability and owning an GPS Pod. If they are shutting down movescount in 2020 is this all eletronic garbage? The sml file will be still available, but how do we configure e.g. datafields. Let’s see.

    • Steve K

      As someone said on the Suunto app forum the watches are advertised as “built to last”. That’s not the case if they’re shutting off functionality.

      Make contact via Twitter publicly so @Suunto can appreciate how important it is to communicate their intentions on this. Support emails, direct messages and forum posts no longer have the same impact.

    • Yeah, I’ve asked for a bit more clarity on the Ambit 1/2 bits. I read it initially as them supporting basic upload via a desktop updater, but in re-reading it a few times, now I agree I’m not so sure. :-/

    • Aaron

      @Steve K (and others) – Out of curiosity what is your expectation of “life” for a fitness tech gadget? And does it matter the vendor (Suunto vs Polar vs Garmin vs Apple vs Fitbit)

    • Frederic

      Same question here…. How will I sync my Ambit 2 ???
      For now, I use this app when I need to have access to the activity files when I don’t have access to a computer.
      (link to play.google.com) but that doesn’t sync the watch.
      I would tend to think they will continue to provide a desktop app for those watches but I’m holding my breath for now.

    • the5krunner (tfk)

      @Aaron , Good question (needs a poll)

      my answer:
      – At least 5 years of full support from launch.
      – At least 3 years platform support since last product sale to the trade or from the manufacturer’s own online shop.
      – The gadget should work free of failure for at least 3 years

      FYI/reference:
      Garmin 910 – announced Oct 2011
      Garmin 920XT – announced Oct 2014

    • Andrew

      I could dig my FR210 out of my nightstand and the data could go to Garmin Connect. If I’m not mistaken, FR310s are STILL sometimes being sought ought. And it wasn’t too long ago I saw older, local club runners with these strapped to their wrists: link to buy.garmin.com

      There are certain things that will continue to work. You can get the data out using external tools. You won’t be able to add data fields or even enable/disable autolap since that’s done out of watch. Nor will you get satellite precaching.

      It’s not the end of the world but it does take out a pretty substantial chunk of functionality.

    • Aaron

      I think you’re an atypical gadget consumer 😆 but I agree, which is why I asked.

      In 2020 when movescount is terminated (At the **earliest** according to Suunto), Ambit2 is over 7 years since release, 6 years since replacement by Ambit3, and 4 since sales discontinue.

      It seems to me exceedingly generous in the world of consumer tech gadgets, this is iPhone 5 era.

    • Steve

      Hi @Aaron, @the5krunner

      @the5krunner’s answer works for me

      I’d expect a solid watch such as the Ambit 3 to remain working for 10 years plus with light use, or 3 years if it’s being hammered on a regular basis.

  11. Cagatay

    Android stable release supports route import.

    • Thanos Gatos

      Are you aware of a faster/easier/more-straight-forward way than what I describe in a comment earlier (getting the gpx file on the watch and the “open with” SA)?

  12. Steve K

    I chose the Ambit3 as a Christmas present, and I really can’t decide whether to now return it. I’ve started the returns process and I have a week or so to box and put the thing in the post.

    It has a lot or most of the functionality that I need, but some of the other features are already being switched off. However, I did get it at a good price – I’d be much less calm if I’d paid their website price.

    Does this announcement mean that Suunto are heading in the direction to provide routes, POIs, custom sports modes via another service, or should I expect the watch to slowly lose functionality now until it just records routes and stats in mid 2020?

    To return or to keep is the question that Suunto need to help me answer in the next week.

  13. TimRPM

    Looks like Ambit 2 and similar aged models are not supported in the new Suunto App. In 18 months they’re looking to shut down Movescount. Anyone know if my watch just becomes a hunk of plastic at that stage with no upload platform for workouts?

    • Arlene M

      Rubitrack (if you have a MAC) will download data directly from the watch. I have an Ambit 2 which I use primarily on the treadmill (the footpod is much more accurate then my Spartan Trainer). There have been times that the Movecount has been down and I still can download the information directly to Rubitrack and transfer it (TCX and GPX files) to my Strava page. There are probably other similar programs out there for PC and Linux too.

  14. Frederic

    But what if I don’t care about Movescount, Sportstracker or any other online platform ?
    Why does one HAVE to upload their data online when it comes to Suunto. What if I just want to have my data local and use my favorite on-prem software ? Do I really need to be pushed all those platforms “down the throat” ?

  15. Jeanine Joubert

    So just to clarify… is there at this stage no way to sink pre-loaded workouts from training peaks to Suunto Watch?
    With Garmin you can do it through IQ Apps. Then on the watch instead of choosing a option (i.e run) you go to apps, sync with training peaks and workout gets uploaded. This is extremely useful for speed, hill sessions etc.
    So nothing like that with Suunto?