The battle over fitness and health data appears to be heating up after evidence surfaced that Adidas is preparing to open up its miCoach platform to developers.
Adidas, one of the most recognizable athletic brands in the world, sells a handful of miCoach products, which include watches, a soccer ball, heart rate monitor, and nifty speed cell that attaches to compatible shoes. Users of these products can track and visualize the data they generate through Adidas' miCoach website.
Last week, Engadget's James Trew discovered a developer portal Adidas has not officially announced that contains information suggesting that developers will soon have access to miCoach data, enabling them to develop apps that help miCoach users apply their training and fitness data in new and interesting ways. As Trew points out, a miCoach API could be similar to Nike's Nike+ platform, which has allowed select developers like MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper to build applications around the NikeFuel technology. According to Nike, its API partnerships give it the potential to reach more than 100 million athletes.
Hedging Their Bets
Nike and Adidas have been competing against each other since the pre-Internet days, but when it comes to connected health and fitness hardware, and the platforms that aggregate the data from them, established athletic brands are facing new competition from technology companies like Apple and Google.
In June, Apple announced HealthKit, its own platform for health and fitness apps, and the company has been rumored to be prepping a launch of a smartwatch of its own. Apple's rival, Google, recently released a preview SDK for Google Fit, its fitness data platform that will be a part of Android L, the next major version of Android scheduled to be unveiled in the fall.
Interestingly, however, both Nike and Adidas appear to be hedging their bets by integrating with the Silicon Valley giants' platforms. Nike, for instance, is supporting HealthKit, and Adidas is listed as a partner for Google Fit.
While many believe that smart consumer devices and wearables are the next big thing, it's clear companies that made their fortunes selling physical products increasingly recognize that the biggest fortunes of the future will be built on data and the applications that make data useful. With this in mind, the strategy being employed by Nike and Adidas — building their own platforms and integrating their products and platforms with the APIs offered by Apple and Google — could prove to be the wisest strategy.