DC Rainmaker State of Sports Tech 2020 Keynote


This post is gonna be a quickie, because frankly, if you want to watch my full keynote, it’s gonna be a…umm…longie?

For a decade now I’ve been giving a ‘State of Sports Tech’ annual keynote each fall, and this fall would be no different. At least in topic, obviously, the world situation means it’s all digital now. The delivery mechanism this year was the Garmin Developer Virtual Conference, which is what the ANT+ Symposium has been folded into. And, it’s all online too. Here’s my write-up on that with all the news from the recorded presentation which you can see below.

(Fun Trivia: From 2010 to 2018 my annual keynote was usually at the ANT+ Symposium, however, in 2019 the ANT+ Symposium date aligned precisely with that of my Peanut #3’s delivery date. Thus, I wasn’t able to attend…so instead, I actually delivered such a keynote earlier in the year at the 2019 Connect IQ Summit.)

In any event, the focus of the presentation begins with some of the overarching trends in the wearables and sports technology space, and then gets successively deeper into the weeds as we go along, talking about areas such as indoor training (and the rise of anti-competitive practices), or power meters and even running power. I also talk about the impact of COVID-19 on sports tech as well.

Remember, the audience for the presentation is the sports tech industry, not specifically consumers. Though, I’ve found over the last decade that many DCR Readers are interested in the presentation, and thus tend to enjoy the dive behind the scenes.  As always, while the presentation may be held in one venue or another, neither Garmin nor any other entity has any control of what I say. Nor do they pay me for it.

Ok, intro over, just hit ‘Play’ on the presentation below. I’ve put in YouTube chapters so you can dig around and find the sections that are most interesting to you. You’ll see those as you drag along the timeline in the video.

With that – thanks for watching, and reading!


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  1. Roger Galuban

    Running a 10K

  2. Daryl

    Love it! Looking forward to watching the video like always.

  3. PaulyG

    Great presentation. I ran the video at 1.25x to save some time as you speak so clearly, it was easy to follow even at a faster speed.

  4. K M

    Great job as usual, your insights are always invaluable Ray!
    I know you are not a “ring” wearer, but would love to see a review of the Oura ring. While I find the data presentation is excellent (especially compared to what I’ve [not] gotten from wearing a garmin watch 24/7 for almost 10 years), it would be reassuring if the analysis is based on something at least close to accurate. I will say the readiness and sleep trends do seem to match well with my activity (including training, a late dinner, or one too many bourbons). As a healthcare front liner, my hope is it may also provide a heads up that something is brewing before a fever sets in. Perhaps wishful thinking…

    • inSyt

      A Ray Oura Ring review might even tempt Garmin to come out with their own ring. ?

    • Sean

      Oura doesn’t continuously monitor HR like the whoop band does, AFAIK, so it’d be harder to do a review on. If he tracked his HRV/RHR and feedback on it compared to the Whoop and the Garmin wearables, that’d be a different story. However, it’d be hard to know which one was right.

  5. Jens

    Considering the new workout recommendations on the Garmin Fenix 6: does anyone have the problem that when you do a prescribed workout on your trainer and finish it according to plan, the predicted training benefit is much higher than the measured training benefit after the fact? For example today I did a recommended “sprint” workout which should yield something like 3.2 aerob and 3 anerob and it turned out as a “base” workout with 2.8 aerob and 0.8 anerob. I did hit all the powerlevels on the Kickr. I’m a little lost, but I’m also new to Garmin.

  6. Nice! While I would indeed like better graphics (indoor cycling), I’m also fine just doing my TrainerRoad workouts.

    I suppose that’s two different (but overlapping) areas though.. Indoor cycling for fun (and races) vs Workouts.

    Also, yes.. I suspect we’ll see a new PM from major players next year – like Shimano (I’d like to call them ‘major’ now that they’ve bought Pioneer’s cycling division ;)).

  7. Sittingontherivet

    Ray, regarding Aero Sensors, no indication that Garmin is still planning to launch Vector Air Soon? Wasn’t ANT+ working to release an aero sensor profile for some time? Seems like your comments are valid. Garmin is probably also looking at the consumer market and that their product is no different/better than the other aero sensors out there. So much potential for this technology, IMO.

  8. Nighthawk700

    For some reason your recent videos have the autocraptions turned off. If you know what’s causing it, can you turn them back on? Even with their silly goofs, I’m usually able to at least follow what you are saying. Otherwise it’s just watching your lips move, and I’m not a proficient lip reader.

    • Yeah, it’s driving me nuts too, and it’s been escalated within YouTube’s Partner level support. It’s been sporadic, but it sucks.

      Historically the captions show up almost instantly. Then this summer they started taking 24hrs to show up. Which, was annoying, but I could deal with it. Now, it’s just given up on life in some cases.

      For the videos I expect to be most popular I’ll actually do captions for them, using the YT ones as the baseline. Like you said, it’s not great, but it’s a starting point – and I can move pretty quickly through a video that way.

      I’ll poke again, because up until this week it was only the 24hr delay. But now I’ve got videos from last week that still don’t have captions. In fact, this State of Sports Tech one I uploaded over the weekend (since it took 15hrs to process a test upload I did last week).

    • Nighthawk700

      Thanks! Very much appreciated!

  9. I agree on the point about screens, but I think it’s more than that. Early Apple Watches really lacked on sport specific features, so it was an easy choice to stick with a Garmin. But now that Apple Watches have good GPS, HR, vo2max, and a solid app ecosystem, the biggest downside for non-ultra/ironman athletes is really just a lack of physical buttons. I feel like I keep my Garmin because it’s better during workouts. But that delta is decreasing, and an Apple Watch is getting more and more tempting.

  10. Leo

    I disagree with you on battery life, Ray.

    I need a massive battery life. Why? Not because I do ultra’s. I run for max 4 hours at a time or ride my bike for max 7 hours. I don’t even combine that in a triathlon.

    But I do run/bike 5 days a week. And I don’t want to first charge by watch before I go out.

    When I go for a 2 hour run, with a 20 hour battery life watch, there is a 90% change my battery is full enough. With a 5 hour battery life watch, it’s almost 50/50 I first have to charge.

    Seconds, there is battery degeneration.
    My 3.5 your old forerunner 935 started life with 24 hour battery life. Now I get about 10 hours out of it (either garmin uses lousy batteries or they messed something up in the firmware). 10 hours still covers all my activities, I only have to charge more often.
    Imagine what would happen when my watch started with 6 hours battery life? I couldn’t finish a marathon (with my limited talent) when battery is down to 50% capacity.

    But I might fall in your .5%

    • inSyt

      Very good points! These watches are not priced to be replaced every year to reset battery life.

      Also, AMOLED is very pretty, but not so much when it switches itself off or to low power mode to save battery life.

  11. Frankenzen

    Very good video on the state of sport tech and where it’s heading. Thanks Ray. I would love to have a device that reliably tells me my CDA on the fly but it seems we’re a long way away from that.

  12. Evin Kaless

    Hi Ray,

    In The State of Sports Tech keynote you mentioned a track mode for Garmin Forerunner 745 (I think). I have a Fenix 5s Plus. Can I get that?


    Evin Kaless

  13. Chris


    Are you aware of any companies or programs/watches etc that take a holistic approach to training at all? For example, let’s say I go for a run on a particular day for 10klms at a certain heart rate in hot and humid conditions, keeping say under say 133bpm with an avg pace of 5m15s per kilometre. Let’s say the next day is cooler and less humid – the 10klm run is now at an avg pace of 5m per klm (on the same track for arguments sake).

    Can the modern training watches/data interpretation factor in weather conditions,the nature of the course etc in providing feedback, or are we not quite there yet? One would think with GPS watches, the data can be “looked at” eg the location and time of a run/swim/bike ride etc and then the program factors in weather based on location, wind conditions, ascent/descent etc in providing feedback.