😲 Wow 😲 new Suunto apps via the new SuuntoPlus Guides

Suunto introduces apps via SuuntoPlus Guides

An app store for the more recent Suunto watches finally seems to be on the cards.

Today Suunto announces the next step toward that app store, giving the capability for independent developers to add functionality. As a result, Suunto’s more recent watches, now have the ability to support structured workouts (kinda).

It’s quite a bit more interesting than structured workouts alone and I’m excited (and pleased) that Suunto is moving in this direction in an innovative way.

If you are familiar with Garmin’s CIQ apps (as opposed to data fields and widgets) then SuuntoPlus is something similar to that and the Guides are a way to introduce new capabilities that you see during your workout.

Current State-of-Play

For years, the Suunto smartphone app links workout data to over 200 other platforms including Strava and Training Peaks. That is a competence shared with many other sports platforms.

More recently, Suunto’s latest Suunto 5 and Suunto 9 watches gained the ability to add special data screens made by 3rd parties for SuuntoPlus, for example, the GhostRunner , Weather, Safe & Loop features. Suunto refer to these as ‘Suunto Features’

SuuntoPlus Guides are the next evolution and are like smart, branded, in-workout notifications. Let’s go through some more detail.

SuuntoPlus Guides – An Overview

My preferred way to initially get my head around guides was to see SuuntoPlus Guides as intelligent notifications that also add a customised SuuntoPlus data screen (Suunto Feature). Some elements of the new Guides allow notification screens, for example, to pop up at certain pre-defined points in your workout/race…such as that refuelling station after 30km.

The Guides also can be used as favourites or as workouts to be automatically executed from the watch’s calendar.

But I don’t want to narrow your thoughts down too much, the scope of what Suunto’s Guides can achieve goes beyond structured workouts. Suunto has over 800 partners, 270 of which already have live connections to the app. 15 companies are going live today with their Guides and there are more Guides in the short-term pipeline. Suunto envisages partner companies will likely produce guides for:

  • Coaching & Training Guidance – Training Peaks are already onboard here NOW with a link-up. Equally, there could be guidance offered for a strength workout as well as a complex structured running workout.
  • Challenges
  • Motivation
  • Nutrition Planning
  • Race guides – An ultra race might have a series of checkpoints and climbs, you could be notified during the race of all such points before you encounter them.

The important point to raise here is that Suunto see many startups wanting to produce these types of functionality but that their limited resources mean that they are both time-constrained and budget-constrained. Suunto claims that a SuuntoPlus Guide is VERY simple to produce and deliver with the added benefit that it can also be easily branded.

Suunto 5 Peak underside and optical hr sensor

Ease of Development

This site tends to focus on the suitability of tech and training to us the athlete. However, sometimes it’s important to look at the other side of the coin.

For SuuntoPlus Guides to be a success, Suunto needs lots of developers to add lots of features for you for free. Suunto clearly has a much smaller customer base than Garmin, so one way they can offer to increase take-up by developers is an easy route to market. They seem to live up to the claims from the two developers I spoke to:

Dave (owner) at intervals.icu says

It didn’t take long to build this integration. The Suunto API is simple, the documentation is clear…

Note: Intervals.icu links for free to Strava and has 40,000 athletes onboard

Markus (owner) at AI Endurance said that it was “relatively easy” to produce the required .JSON file that defines each step of the workout and that it was a similar process to sending workouts to Garmin or Training Peaks.

Development: relatively easy

Note: AI Endurance offers genuine-AI tri plans and pioneered integrating dfa a1

Eric (@Humango.ai) specifically commented that the API was easy-to-use.

easy-to-use Cloud API [to deploy workouts]

Note: Humango claims to use AI as your endurance coaching assistant

 

I’ve had a look at some of the coding. I’m not a coder myself but I just about understood it. I reckon I could have a good go at producing a SuuntoPlus Guide.

Here are some examples that go live today.

Example 1: Training Peaks – How It Works

Your workout in Training Peaks can be one you created or from a paid-for plan or a plan from your coach.

Once the workout is in the Training Peaks calendar, automatically syncs to every service you’ve linked to Training Peaks…including the Suunto app.

The smartphone Suunto app then syncs to the watch and it’s interesting to also note that you can ‘favourite’ some workouts and keep them on the watch. This is a handy feature for me as my Wahoo+Training Peaks combo is based on the free version of TP which deletes the workout from the device once its scheduled day has passed.

You can choose any Guide that’s on the watch and if one is specifically scheduled in your calendar you are automatically prompted to start it.

As you exercise, the guide pops up notifications at the start of each step and, in this case, Training Peaks also provide an own-branded custom screen with metrics including targets and a countdown to the end of the step. A final niceity is that the details of both the planned and actual performances are merged together in TP.

Example 2: AI Endurance – How It Works

The flow of getting workouts from AI Endurance to my Suunto 9 Baro was pretty much the same as with Training Peaks. Simply connect the service and then push the test to Suunto. The calendarised workouts are automatically synced.

 

On Suunto’s smartphone app, set the workout to be permanently stored on the watch and you have a ‘favourite’.

From the developer’s perspective, the Guide can create a label to automatically identify both the completed workout and the steps within it. Thus the imported results can be quickly targetted with the correct algorithms.

 

Example 3: Gretel Planner

The Golden Trail World Series shows race guidance that includes key climb information. Again, Garmin and Polar have climb tools but implemented differently.

 

 

Example 4: Suunto’s Own Workout & Drills

Not to be left out of their own party, Suunto has created a series of guides for practising sports techniques and for taking you through some strength workouts.

 

I like the idea of being guided through a strength workout by simply being reminded of what comes next. Whilst I do like to gather every last drop of my endurance data, my S&C work is usually just a vague process rather than a rigidly controlled machine where I correctly log every last rep and exercise (we’re all different, some of you want to do that).

Example 5: Motivation & Challenges

GoJoe.com has Alistair Brownlee as a backer and the company produces challenges for groups, friends, workmates and teams with ability-weighted leaderboards to make it more inclusive for everyone. They are linking up with Suunto Guides to provide their platform to Suunto users.

Problems?

The only issues I found were these that will probably be fixed in the next firmware update!

  1. Descriptive Text was too on the Step Notification small even on the large screen Suunto 9 Baro. (I’m definitely getting older)
  2. One of the automatic laps totally obscured the Step Notification (the countdown timerΒ  and target is still on the target screen, so it’s OK)
  3. Sync times of Guides from the app is too long.
  4. Race plan notifications rely on distance triggers. If the GPS distance is wrong the trigger will occur at the wrong point. (Geo-location triggers are planned)

 

Suunto 5 Peak left side view\

Key Points To Remember

  1. More use-cases than structured workouts
  2. Easy to develop
  3. 3rd parties can brand the Guide they create
  4. Only works for recent Suunto watches (S5, S9)
  5. It’s more of a guiding type feature than a ‘thou must’ feature. A nudge rather than a push.
  6. Seems to work well and there are quite a few Guides already in existence and working.
  7. No control of Fitness Equipment
  8. The ‘lap’ button moves the Guide to the next step (and so can align race markers if race distances get out of sync with the Guide)
  9. Works for Suunto 9, Suunto 9 Baro, Suunto 9 Peak, Suunto 5, Suunto 5 Peak, Suunto 3

TakeOut – SuuntoPlus Guides

This is the next step by Suunto toward a 3rd party app store. It had to start somewhere and SuuntoPlus Guides is as good a place as any.

The way the Guides are created and used is different to that previously offered by the competition. These ‘Guides’ literally guide you through a series of customisable steps WITHOUT mandating you perform at a certain level or without needing to control a piece of sports apparatus. I kinda like the idea of being guided or nudged toward doing something rather than my Wahoo or Garmin structured bike work continually beeping at me and telling me to go harder. But you can only be gently nudged so far, if you are looking for precision in performance and if you are looking for the precise ability to exactly control a smart trainer then this won’t be your thing.

I certainly sometimes need to be able to control a smart trainer and Suunto can’t do that right now. However, I often follow structured workouts without controllable sports equipment and Suunto Guides seem a good option for me in those scenarios.

I’ve already linked up and used a couple of the beta services and you quickly get a long list of Guides on your app. This creates the problem of how we will manage them. I guess it’s a nice problem to have and it’s certainly better to have too many ‘apps’ rather than too few…ask Fitbit, their app store never really took off.

There is no app store yet but it will come as will many other abilities such as being able to automatically trigger the next phase of the Guide based on location when following a race/route.

Opinion: I personally like this feature and can see many great uses for it. I suspect the appeal will be wide but perhaps less so for cycling where the ability to link to fitness equipment is important. That said, I can see it being a success in the sports where Suunto is traditionally strong like Ultra/Mountain Running. A notable percentage of runners in those sports use Suunto kit and it might be worthwhile for the developers to create Suunto-specific guides. Whereas, in your next triathlon race, only a tiny percentage of athletes will use Suunto watches and it’s not worth organisers providing

Whatever the current levels of interest might be, this is one feature that has been glaringly missing for years. So it’s great that Suunto has filled the gap and great that they’ve done so in a novel and interesting way.

Suunto 5 Peak Review
L-R: Suunto Ambit 3, Spartan Trainer, Suunto 5, 5 Peak

 

 

Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It’s mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site and I appreciate everyone who follows, subscribes or Buys Me A Coffee ❀️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners. Thank you! FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: Links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

4 thoughts on “😲 Wow 😲 new Suunto apps via the new SuuntoPlus Guides

  1. I wish Polar make shop for apps as well. Watchfaces, apps for vantage v2 / grit x

    1. I’m not sure how easy apps would be in their ecosystem (IDK)
      i think Suunto’s approach could perhaps be replicated.
      that said, surely custom watch faces must be possible?
      the problem with allowing it is that errant faces (or apps/data fields) can brick or impair devices considerably). That’s one reason why Apple’s approach is very very very tightly controlled regarding how complications can be made to customise Apple’s own standard watch face templates

  2. “For years, the Suunto smartphone app links workout data to over 200 other platforms…” incorrect the smartphone app (neither movescount mobile nor Suunto app) data links to other platform but movescount did this for nearly 10 years since the start (2010)

    1. ty for the feedback

      I’m not sure I understand why you think it’s an incorrect statement. maybe we are writing/reading at cross purposes

      the suunto app has been around for multiple years and has outbound data service eg to strava and TP.

Comments are closed.

wp_footer()