New Zealand-based Performance Lab unveils the first wearable software platform that automatically senses and interprets activity to provide advice as a user trains
Performance Lab, developer of automated technology for fitness and health applications, today unveils the ARDATM Coaching Engine, a new, patented software platform that will redefine the wearable fitness tracker market by bringing real time context and intelligence to wearable fitness devices. The ARDA Coaching Engine, which represents a fusion of sports science, coaching expertise and technology, is designed to work with massive multi-parameter data streams including terrain, weather, speed, power, recent performance, sleep, and measures of central nervous system fatigue. By building a 360 degree real-time view of user activity, the ARDA Coaching Engine can provide the most important and accurate coaching advice that will help an individual meet their fitness or training goals.
“The ARDA Coaching Engine will help our partners bring to market a new generation of wearable fitness devices that will function as a virtual coach”
Current training devices and applications largely report back sensor measurements, rather than offer meaningful advice. They also focus on a very limited set of parameters — typically heart rate or accelerometer data — which are insufficient to provide meaningful coaching commentary. With the introduction of the ARDA Coaching Engine, for the first time, training applications will be able to offer true coaching: timely, relevant and trustworthy audio and visual advice to improve user performance. With devices that implement the ARDA Coaching Engine, the user is only required to input his or her weight and fitness goals and the platform interprets multiple parameters to provide the remaining data for personalized coaching. For example, the ARDA Coaching Engine can automatically detect not only that a user is walking, jogging, sprinting or cycling, but that a user is cycling in a high gear on a flat road. Therefore, the user is able to spend more time on training and less time on data input.
“The ARDA Coaching Engine will help our partners bring to market a new generation of wearable fitness devices that will function as a virtual coach,” says Performance Lab’s CEO, Waynne Dartnall. “We expect a personal trainer who we trust to assess what we are doing, how we are doing, and in what context we are doing it to provide the best advice as to what we should do next. To achieve that sort of outcome, the ARDA Coaching Engine uses sophisticated algorithms to interpret sensor data and translate it in the moment into personalized, trustworthy, and goal-focused recommendations.”
Performance Lab is currently engaging with partners on the commercial roll-out of the platform across a variety of devices, some of which will be on the market in early 2015. The ARDA Coaching Engine can operate as a cloud-based service, or be housed on a partner’s device or chipset. It can be implemented in wearables from fitness-specific devices to eyewear, as well as in smartphones and watches.
The ARDA Coaching Engine can be used across all fitness levels, from the novice walker looking to lose weight to the elite cyclist seeking to optimize training efforts. The platform uses GPS sensors and other contextual information to predict a user’s next move and can provide insightful direction mid-workout, such as, “You’ll need to take the next hill faster than you did yesterday,” as well as advice on future activity, “Your legs are a bit tired—I suggest an easier workout next time to recover.” By combining the ARDA Coaching Engine’s data analytics with the user’s weight and goals, customized exercise plans can be built around the user’s everyday schedule and events.
A Unique Combination of Sports Science, Coaching and Technology
Under the guidance of co-founders, Jon Ackland and Kerri McMaster, both elite athletes and coaches, Performance Lab has collected 20 years of data involving tens of thousands of athletes and users at all fitness levels. For 15 years data was collected largely in the lab; for the last five years, it has been collected exclusively in the field using wearable sensors providing Performance Lab with a vast amount of unparalleled domain expertise. Bringing together this unique perspective with sports science, coaching and technology to understand and formulate the correlations between data, activity types, and performance results, Performance Lab created the ARDA Coaching Engine.
It is the only multi-parameter, analytical engine currently that creates an accurate picture of performance by blending and interpreting multiple data streams. This presents a significant opportunity for new, breakthrough devices given the imminent market entry of products which bring together a host of onboard sensors, such as an accelerometer, a heart rate monitor, a GPS and a barometer all in a single device. With the ARDA Coaching Engine, these devices will be able to automatically identify different activity types, such as relaxed warm-ups, walking, sprinting, or cycling hill climbs, provide coaching measurements, counsel on how to correct form and technique, and report outcomes. In short, the ARDA Coaching Engine will provide the kind of trusted and impactful advice that will make fitness wearables a must-have rather than a novelty. By contrast today the average user sustains active use of current fitness devices for only six to 12 weeks, according to research from Endeavour Partners.
According to an IDC report, consumers and businesses will buy nearly 112 million wearable computer devices by 2018, a 78.4 percent growth rate from 2014’s predicted sales of about 19 million units. Performance Lab developed the ARDA Coaching Engine to take advantage of this significant opportunity and push the limits of wearable fitness devices with its software platform. As a portfolio investment by Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of the multinational chip manufacturer, the company plans to continue to expand the ARDA Coaching Engine across health and wellness platforms and devices.
“ARDA will change the way people engage with fitness and exercise,” says Deepak Natarajan, Investment Director, Intel Capital. “We believe this platform will serve as the breakthrough for next generation fitness products by providing users with information that actually helps them improve their fitness and meet personal wellness goals.”
About Performance Lab
Performance Lab was founded in 1993 to apply sports science principles to help endurance athletes achieve peak performance. For the last decade, the company’s focus has been on automating the prescription of exercise using real-time environmental and physiological data, as well as historical data and insight into training goals. Performance Lab creates adaptive training tools for individual performance, team performance, and military performance, as well as applications for the health and well-being market. Clients include world champions and world record holders across triathlon, rugby, sailing, rowing and cycling, as well as tens of thousands of amateurs seeking to improve general fitness and well-being. For further information, please visit performancelab.co.