Just when I had compartmentalised RUNSCRIBE as more of a proprietary professional gait-metric tool, they go and change it all.
RUNSCRIBE PLUS is announced today (more details here). It’s a similar shell to the original RUNSCRIBE but quite different on the inside.
One of the earlier criticisms of the original product was that they could have opened up their product and their metrics to broadcast to running watches. The most obvious way to a mass market was over ANT+ to Garmin running/tri watches Yet my opinion was that what they had was pretty good for the purpose they intended…ie more advanced runners or coaches looking at detailed gait metrics.
WELL. Rather than making a U-turn or a left-turn they seem to have made the RIGHT turn. They now produce a power metric (in beta at launch) and they support Garmin CIQ and write their pre-existing metrics to the FIT files.This means that ALL their data will show in Garmin Connect BUT it also means that the likes of SPORTTRACKS and GOLDENCHEETAH should ‘just work’ with these new metrics as those platforms support the extensible FIT file format. Presumably TP and others are the same.
Basically you get to look at DUAL-SIDED RUNNING POWER IN REAL TIME – PLUS lots of cool stuff
But that’s turning in to a big market as STRYD has shown; so … cool move.
There are also some ‘peripheral‘ improvements:
- Web dashboard UX improved to improve analysis & comparisons;
- Start/Stop/Pause/Resume/Lap for total control over your run on the APP;
- Open API for individual and aggregate data sources; and
- Travel mode to save battery life during transport.
- Generally it’s going to be: CIQ (Forerunner, Fenix Vivoactive); Suunto SPARTANs; & Suunto AMBIT
- NOW: Announcement and Pre-Orders @$199/set (this discount might work, will clarify)
- NOW: Existing RUNSCRIBE drops to $149/set (discount code here)
- October 1st LAUNCH: Retail Pricing at $249/set (ie it gets more expensive if you leave it a month)
What to watch out for
I’m hoping to get my hands on a set early to test out the power. I’m not too bothered about it matching the absolute levels of power from my one-footed STRYD but I would like to see the two products agree on the relative changes in power levels. The two should be able to be compared though as RunScribe can be heel-mounted in a cradle.
After that, to me, comes the ease of movement between the shoes. STRYD is easily movable BUT I suspect the plastic cradle only has a limited life of continual insert/removals. The existing RunScribe was always a little bit fiddly to change the cradle between shoes…let’s see what changes. Indeed CAN the RunScribe Plus produce meaningful data when attached to multiple DIFFERENT shoes?
Also of interest will be how the power data integrated with the existing ‘running power ecosystem’
- First up on that topic would be dual-sided power. This is new. I would imagine that the Garmin Connect data will ‘just work’ but I’m wondering how MOVESCOUNT will handle dual-sided power. Indeed how will SPARTANs handle dual-BLE? Indeed how will SPARTANs handle multiple data types from the one sensor (that’s currently a SPARTAN issue for power+cadence)
- Secondly there is a good chance that a standard CIQ power metric will ‘just work’ with STRYD’s existing CIQ app. But maybe not if dual-sided power is taken into account.
- Similarly with the SPARTANs and AMBIT3s, the power metrics display metrics are already there BUT not for dual sided. This will have to be added by Suunto. I know there is a nice SPARTAN firmware update coming at the end of August 2017…but I’ve no idea as to all of what that contains.
- I’m not quite sure how the analysis side of gait metrics will pan out. Garmin Connect and MOVESCOUNT are not that great at most kinds of detailed analysis. So will people keep using RUNSCRIBE’s online dashboard (I like it and it’s being improved) or might they switch to SportTracks (a little cumbersome for special metrics), Golden Cheetah or TrainingPeaks or something else?
- Some people who are interested in gait metrics will, no doubt, also be interested in power but the same may well not be true in reverse. Or, put another way, running with power will open up a whole new market to RunScribe.
Tech Specs & Tidbits
- Metrics: Efficiency (Stride Rate, Contact Time, Flight Ratio), Motion (Footstrike Type, Pronation, Pronation Velocity), Shock (Impact Gs, Braking Gs), Symmetry, and Power(in beta)
- Sensors: 9-axis motion sensor, 500Hz sampling rate, 16MB onboard flash memory
- Size / Weight: 15g / 35x25x7.5mm
- Water Resistance IPX7 (up to 1m of water).
- Communication: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+
- Smartphones: Android 4.4+, iOS 9+
- Watches: Garmin Connect IQ [Forerunner, Fenix, and Vivoactive], and Suunto [Ambit, Spartan]:
- Platforms: Full RunScribe Metrics on Garmin Connect, Power on TrainingPeaks, and Movescount
- What’s Included: 2 FootPods, Charger, Heel & Lace cradles, and RunScribe dashboard account
The main battleground for ‘running with power’ is going to be on Garmin’s CIQ platform. It looks like late 2017 will see RunScribe taking on STRYD with the latter already an established player. Other entrants such as SHFT are possible but the real shift to the market would come IF Garmin produce hardware themselves. That could be next month, next year…or never.
If Garmin enter the market, their entry would validate the market and grow the overall market size just simply because of their presence and marketing muscle. They would likely have a premium product option. So STRYD and RunScribe still could see growth on Garmin devices even with Garmin as a direct competitor.
But it’s not just Garmin CIQ.
The Suunto and Polar platforms are more than just peripheral. With a sensible offering to those markets, supported properly by the platform vendors, RunScribe and STRYD should have that part of the overall market to themselves – Garmin Bluetooth sensors excepted. I get the sense that Suunto’s offering currently has more traction with power runners than Polar’s even though the latter might be close to a better overall power running solution.
But then are ‘just running power metrics’ enough? For me they are. But there will be others who will be interested in the analyses of other gait metrics from STRYD’s Power Center and yet others who will want to see the metrics in real-time from RunScribe. The Garmin Connect platform will never really offer any kind of analysis that those metrics demand. So, even then, a move into the market form Garmin might just add to the excitement rather than reduce the number of market players.
Finally. Just in case you were wondering how big the packaging was…