Geez, the title could be clickbait for a blog post or Youtube video but alas it is not.
It hit me a few days ago what an interesting opportunity Wahoo has with their products and now services, and I had some thoughts about it I wanted to share on here to maybe strike up a discussion and conversation on a cohesive ecosystem as a whole - and not just stuff that would be nice here and there like the Wahoo Cloud syncing that recently occurred.
To start off with I’ll introduce myself since it helps to scope my perspective on things. My name is Josh. By day I’m the project lead of an open source software project in telecommunications, outside of that I’m a somewhat beginner cyclist. I did indoor cycling for over a year, then moved over to outdoor cycling, and now since winter is approaching (or a tropical storm as I type this) it’s time to drift back inside. I’m not someone who likes to follow more rigid plans. I just want to generally get better, which is why I use Xert in continuous improvement. It gives me the data I want, is flexible how I want, and has worked for me in the time I’ve been using it. That’s not to say I don’t like SYSTM though. I plan on using it for strength, and still do some of the videos. Options are good, and not everyone jives with every solution. I’m above recreational but not racing, as I’m sure many of us here are and I think this is where Wahoo can (and does) really shine.
I’m gonna start off with where things are right now.
Cycling inevitably requires hardware. At its base is a bike, but let’s face it most of us here have thrown more hardware at it. A bike computer, heart rate sensor, probably power meter, electronic shifting, indoor trainer, and more. We want to measure, get data, and get better. We can feel ourselves getting better but it’s always nice to quantify it and know how we can improve even more. Wahoo really has the hardware space covered here. They even have day to day covered using the Rival watch. I think the only thing they don’t have is a weight scale, but that’s minor in the grand scheme of things. I think they have a really nice solid base (although the TICKR and TICKR X could really use new versions since those seem to be iffy at times).
Wahoo acquired Sufferfest and RGT which gave them an entry into services. Services are recurring revenue which is what every company craves and wants. Predictable revenue is good, even if there is churn. As we’ve seen with Saris and their situation if you’re just doing hardware it can be problematic. A mix is good.
From a software perspective we’ve got SYSTM, RGT, the ELEMNT app, the Wahoo Fitness app, and arguably some of the websites which aren’t “software” exactly but we interact with - think the live tracking for example. Everything has been integrated from an account perspective and we’ve got the syncing now, but things are still separate islands in multiple ways. A lot of the software is also about the creation of activities, and not about the analysis. There is some limited information in the apps for reviewing the activities, but nothing over all. You rely on outside things to accomplish this.
And now… my thoughts on cohesiveness. The cohesiveness I think would be cool is really driven around the data we all generate as a result of our day to day and our activities.
So what would I like to see?
I think all roads inevitably lead back to the Wahoo Cloud. Right now we’ve got syncing across the various apps but it seems to me to really be one directional one time activity syncing. I suspect each has their own copy, instead of the Wahoo Cloud being the definitive source of truth. That works, to a degree, but it means if you edit the title in one place it doesn’t go elsewhere. They’re still somewhat islands.
So I’d like to see all the apps just use Wahoo Cloud for things instead of the syncing that exists now. I think the Wahoo Cloud should be the definitive source and storage of our activities, of our 24/7 data from the Rival watch, and more. I think it should be what authenticates and manages outside service usage - like Strava. You authenticate in Wahoo Cloud, and then that gets used by everything. It would mean that the addition of additional outside services occurs in one place and everything could then leverage it.
This would also mean that for structured workouts additional options could be added in Wahoo Cloud and tada, used by everything. It could also allow the uploading of structured workouts, which would then be available to everything just like if it were connected to a service. Same goes for a workout builder.
The Wahoo Cloud becomes the glue that binds it all together and the definitive source.
I also previously talked about how Wahoo doesn’t really have anything for analysis. Making this part of the Wahoo Cloud would be extremely nice because just like activities and workouts, each component of the ecosystem could then use it. If it used all available data, including from the Rival watch, to give recovery information and made this available on your bike computer, or RGT, or SYSTM, that would be extremely user friendly and potentially allow you to make better choices.
Garmin comes close in some of these areas, but they don’t have RGT or SYSTM for example and they’re a behemoth of a company with a behemoth assortment of products that do a TON of stuff. Wahoo on the other hand is more focused, and more I hesitate to say basic. I’ll go with user friendly.
So, there is a really cool opportunity here for Wahoo to bring it all together in a user friendly way that makes a great cohesive experience. Do they have this vision in mind? Probably parts of it, maybe all of it, I don’t know, but I look forward to seeing.
What would you like to see if all of this was pulled together in a more cohesive way?