OPINION: RunScribe PLUS Announcement – Running With Power just got a whole Lot More Interesting

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.

Supported Watches

  • Generally it’s going to be: CIQ (Forerunner, Fenix Vivoactive); Suunto SPARTANs; & Suunto AMBIT

Timescales

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

Source: RunScribe

  • 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

OPINION

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.

Interesting stuff.

More details (here) from RunScribe.

Finally. Just in case you were wondering how big the packaging was…

7 thoughts on “OPINION: RunScribe PLUS Announcement – Running With Power just got a whole Lot More Interesting

    • Still looking (or awaiting) for a reliable real time power meter because I am not having a smooth experience with Stryd and Polar V800 together. There is a huge delay of approximately 5 seconds in the bluetooth communication betwwen pod and device, very noticiaible from the moment the pod is stopped and start to run, as well as when it is running and subtly stop. A 5-second delay is not acceptable for a metric that is supposed to be real-time. When Stryd is showing the values through the Android app, this time decreases to around 3.5/4 seconds, which still a considerable time. I really hope that those new pods have this issue solved…

      • You will be looking at a moving average on the app and on Polar.
        It can’t be instant.
        If you look at the power track from cycling every half second, it’s meaningless. There HAS to be smoothing (same is true of pace if you imagine a swinging arm and the position of the watch relative to the ground – it will be almost stop/start)

        So your point would really be about a 5 second delay on a 5 sec moving average (i’d have to check what the averaging is) and/or about any Bluetooth or polar delay caused by transmission and/or processing. The former (5 sec) is probably slightly too long a moving average and the latter delay is a problem, I agree.

        one for support I think,

        • Thanks for the answer!

          You are right that we will be looking at a moving average, but 5 sec still too long for me. The sum of the moving average time and device delay, in my opinion, completely kills the experience. have only recorded power just for late analysis, I still rely more on heart rate metrics for trainning. Unfortunately.

          I have contacted the (very friendly) Stryd staff and they answered that is a known and already addresed issue, but still have no solution for the delay in the device communication. This may be more smooth on Garmins / IQ Connect / ANT+, but it definitely needs more work on the Polar (or bluetooth???) side.

  1. I’m curious how the power will be shown real time on the watch… instant, 3sec, 5sec average? As much as I think power meter incredible, it is totally useless in real time if the broadcasting between the pod and watch delays…

    • it will be displayed with some form of moving or lap-average – as dictated by the watch. In the case of Garmin (and STRYD) the display is controlled by the STRYD app and/or STRYD data fields. These same data fields might possible work for RunScribe power. we ahall see in due course (that would make my life easier!!)

      • I agree, it should only shows as power and average power, as the latest V800 update provided. Standard footpod metrics like distance, cadence and stride lenght should come in the package, but nothing else.

        As a datageek, I would think interesting to show advanced metrics on the watch (or at least the avarage ones), as the breaking forces, ground contact time, flight time and many others… ok, not for Polar users!

        I see that Garmin is paving the way for the power metrics, and IQ connect is a powerful tool for the future of the actual “real time”, but as a loyal V800 user, I’m concerned about Polar integration.

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