Suunto Announces SuuntoPlus Guides: An App Platform for 3rd Party Apps

It’s been simply shy of a decade from when Suunto introduced their first app platform, known as the Suunto AppZone. On the time, it was the very first open to any developer watch-based app platform. Certain, Pebble had introduced theirs barely earlier, however Suunto really delivered it months earlier than Pebble shipped their first watch. And this was all years earlier than Apple, Garmin, or Google would make their wearable app platforms. Sadly, whereas Suunto obtained off to a robust preliminary begin, they ultimately killed off the platform with the change from the Ambit collection to the Spartan collection.

Nonetheless, at this time they’re bringing the band again collectively once more, with the brand app performance. This platform permits third get together builders to create slimmed down apps that can be utilized for workout-specific duties, reminiscent of a structured exercise app (just like the TrainingPeaks one I wrote about), or one which reveals you upcoming climbs (like a mini-ClimbPro), and even power coaching – as Suunto themselves simply enabled.

These new mini-apps are known as “”, and mainly use a configuration file despatched to the watch from a third get together associate to have the watch carry out a slew of “if-then” sort directions. For instance, “if at kilometer 5 within the exercise, then present a brand new interval step”. Besides, the “if” choices are fairly deep, permitting triggers on the whole lot from distance or time, to metrics like coronary heart charge, temperature, tempo, altitude, or energy. After which, the app can endlessly iterate on what to immediate the consumer with.

This foundational layer is already permitting greater than a dozen companions to create these simplified apps that ship real-world app experiences with out the complexity or improvement time of compiled code.

For this submit, I’m going to briefly dive into extra of the geeky facet. However if you wish to see the sensible facet, take a look at the complete submit on the TrainingPeaks integration instance I printed .. It’s noteworthy although that Suunto is already rolling out their very own structured exercises too, together with swimming drills, power coaching, and extra. These can be found for the Suunto 5 and Suunto 9 collection watches.

And finally, Suunto says that is actually simply the tip of the iceberg for w. they wish to take this. Future updates will probably be partially completed by software program updates, however as you’ll see, t.’s additionally areas Suunto says will realistically solely include extra highly effective {hardware} down the highway.

The way it works:

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Now I’m going to stroll by the fundamentals of this all, however not dive into each little nuance. Particularly as a result of I do know most builders will skip over to the developer documentation and begin sifting by all of it. So my purpose . is overlaying the bits for individuals interested in the way it works, after which people who wish to get into the nitty-gritty, can accomplish that with the precise developer documentation.

The very first thing to know is that SuuntoPlus Guides are mainly a secondary sort of SuuntoPlus app. You’ll have remembered SuuntoPlus apps from the previous few years, as a method Suunto can ship one-off app integrations with numerous corporations. Issues like TrainingPeaks metrics, or GhostRunner, or others. Nonetheless, when you might load a number of of those in your watch directly, you can solely add one per exercise. So one TrainingPeaks Normalized Energy knowledge web page…however no extra. On this case, SuuntoPlus Guides function in a lot the identical method. You’ll be able to solely select one per exercise, and these are workout-only issues. T. aren’t guides/apps for non-workout widgets for instance.

However again to the app particulars. SuuntoPlus Guides are basically a configuration file that’s despatched from a associate web site/platform, to Suunto’s servers, after which all the way down to an authenticated consumer’s Suunto smartphone app, which in flip pushes it to the watch.

Step one, for an app developer, is having access to the API through the SuuntoPlus Information Cloud, which is what you’ll use to push your configuration information to the consumer’s watch. That enables customers to authenticate to your service (e.g. TrainingPeaks), which in flip authorizes the consumer to obtain updates from mentioned platform. Customers can browse the SuuntoPlus Guides app retailer, to search out accessible guides. Right here’s the app retailer because it appears upon launch, nonetheless, I anticipate this to develop moderately rapidly, since Suunto says numerous corporations are already engaged on apps not but finalized:

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Additional, given the complexity degree is low ., the decrease barrier to entry means extra corporations may give it a whirl to see the way it catches on.

As soon as a consumer selects a given app information, it brings the consumer to the authentication/authorization web page for that app platform. That’s w. they’d sign-in to hyperlink their account to the Suunto platform (and thus in flip, their watch):

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And that is w. it turns to the developer facet. The developer is basically capturing three information over to Suunto through that Cloud API:

A) A Information JSON File: This lists what’s within the information
B) A Manifest JSON File: That is the precise information itself (for instance, the precise structured exercise)
C) A PNG icon file: That is to make all of it fairly, displaying the apps icon/particulars

Builders will discover t.’s no compiled code t.. This isn’t like different app shops, these are comparatively easy configuration information, enabling builders to rapidly spin this up. That in fact has professionals and cons.

For instance, t.’s no reside entry to the cellphone’s Bluetooth connection for getting further knowledge like on different wearable app platforms. In impact, Suunto is the FedEx supply man/gal ., and so they simply ship that bundle of three information from the third get together platform (e.g. TrainingPeaks), to your watch. As soon as that bundle is taped up and shipped, you’ll be able to’t add something to it. A brand new bundle needs to be despatched.

SuuntoPlusGuidesOverview

Once more, it is a comparatively restricted platform by way of the grand scheme of app platforms, however it additionally hits the core/most crucial wants pretty properly.

So, the following bit is what knowledge you’ll be able to show to a consumer. T. are quite a few totally different knowledge fields you should utilize, which mainly mirror the Suunto inventory fields. Right here’s a *snippet* from the developer information. All of those subsequent screenshots are simply snippets of the bigger information, t. are many extra pages of issues than the screenshots I’m displaying:

ExampleScreens

These pages can then be triggered by numerous occasions. These occasions will be distance, or time, or a guide lap set off – amongst others.

Trigers

For instance, at 0m right into a exercise, a structured exercise app may present step one, after which if it was a distance-based exercise, it’d present the following step at 1,600m right into a exercise (if that was the following step set off level). T. are some gaps .. For instance, you’ll be able to’t create a set off round a given GPS coordinate. Thus, apps that rely on a location (reminiscent of an inventory of climbs), assume that your whole route distance precisely matches the deliberate distance. In real-life (particularly in trails), that’s unlikely to occur. Suunto says these are all issues they’ve obtained top-of-mind for future updates, and GPS place capabilities are coming down the highway (each actually and figuratively).

Subsequent, t.’s knowledge sorts supported. This covers just about all the info sorts you’ll be able to collect from a Suunto watch, from temperature to altitude to distance, and extra. Once more, .’s a snippet from the bigger record.

SensorTypes

After which t.’s zones. This enables utilization of the zones gauges in addition to knowledge that merely targets a consumer staying in a given zone.

TargetTypes

All of this enables builders to create comparatively simplistic, however very useful, mini-apps. Right here’s a snippet of an instance JSON file for an interval exercise app:

ExampleFile

As soon as the file is created, it’s pushed through the Suunto Cloud, to the consumer’s smartphone Suunto App, after which onwards upon subsequent sync to the consumer’s watch. From t. it may be enabled for the utilized exercise sorts:

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After which after the exercise is full, the third get together platform receives the finished exercise .FIT file, which might in all probability be used for analytics or different knowledge processing, relying on the use-case of the particular app.

Be aware that neither the Suunto watch nor Suunto smartphone app shows any SuuntoPlus Information-specific particulars within the exercise abstract screens. Hopefully down the highway we’ll see that, however at this time nothing reveals in both of these areas.

Wrap-Up:

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General, it is a fairly cool first step for Suunto to get again into the app sport. The important thing factor . is that they aren’t making an attempt to boil the ocean. By going with a configuration-file app information strategy, Suunto is ready to persuade builders extra simply to develop for it. With fundamental SuuntoPlus Information apps taking virtually trivial ranges of time to put in writing, corporations are keen to take a flyer on it. W.as growing for a extra complicated app platform with considerably greater improvement occasions, would have seemingly restricted the willingness to spend time on it.

In fact, t. are limitations . past the simplicity of the platform. The primary is simply the {hardware} itself. A consumer can solely have a single SuuntoPlus Information loaded at one time throughout a exercise, and these can’t comingle with common SuuntoPlus Apps throughout the identical exercise both. So for some SuuntoPlus Apps that ought to actually simply be built-in knowledge fields (just like the TrainingPeaks NP/and many others metrics), you’re compelled to decide on one.

T.’s some parallels to limitations in Garmin’s Join IQ app platform, which 8 years and umpteen {hardware} revisions later nonetheless by some means doesn’t permit greater than two CIQ apps directly on a wearable system. The distinction t. is that most of the options Suunto is rolling out through SuuntoPlus Guides/SuuntoPlus Apps are built-in on the Garmin facet and don’t require further apps. In Suunto’s case, they are saying the 1-maximum per exercise limitation is pushed by {hardware} reminiscence, however that in future {hardware} fashions, that’ll seemingly go away. The opposite distinction between Garmin and Suunto is that the SuuntoPlus Guides are less complicated to develop, even when they’ve fewer options – permitting builders to check the waters extra rapidly.

Nonetheless, regardless of the constraints, I’m excited to see w. this goes, particularly if we fast-forward six or so months down the highway, to see which corporations have given it a shot, and the way customers obtain it. Additional, to see how Suunto has expanded the platform’s capabilities, and maybe laid out a little bit of a roadmap for the longer term.

With that – thanks for studying!

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