Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Microsoft Band (day 6: data)

Short update today, answering two questions I've heard a lot about the Band:

  • Can the data be exported?
  • Does it work for cycling?

Can data be exported?

The short answer here is "no"; at least I have not found a way to get any of the raw data out of the Band or the Microsoft Health app. There are Connected Apps partners with Microsoft, including RunKeeper, so I signed up for their service to see how much data is shared.

The first problem with Connected Apps is that (apparently) your past data is not shared. This meant that after I joined there was no way for me to upload the half-marathon data from last weekend. New activities, however, seem to appear on RunKeeper as soon as they're sync'd to Health.

The second 'problem' is that only a summary of each activity is available... here is the information available on RunKeeper after a 5 km run this evening:


No details are available in the Connected App - no kilometer splits, elevation chart, map track or heart rate data :-( I would really like to get the running data (heart rate, GPS track as GPX) from my Band activites, and/or sync them automatically with Strava... however if the only integration possible with Strava is a 'summary' such as that shown above - I wouldn't bother!

Interesting statistic shown on the RunKeeper website...
1139 RunKeeper users also use this app
I wonder just how many Bands have been sold so far...


Does it work for cycling?

There's no particular reason why the Band won't collect data (GPS track, heart rate, etc) from a cycling effort as well as a run... I tried it out and it works fine. The problem with this is categorizing that workout in your training records. The speed/average pace recorded for a bike ride will far exceed your running capacity ;) and the heart-rate will be a lot less; making the calorie calculations also useless. 

If metrics are important to you (and they probably are, if you're reading this), then "no" the Band isn't much use for cyclists compared to the myriad of other options available.

4 comments:

  1. I seriously hope this changes - the ability to export the gpx to another platform that has your entire workout history is a must imo.

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  2. Thanks for this and your Half-Marathon report. I was almost ready to buy the Band - but the more tests I read the more I see thing I would probably miss:1. Strava, 2. HR accuracy, 3. Cycling features ... So far, I think this watch isn't ready to be worn by competitive athletes (triathletes). What do you think about that?
    Thanks.

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  3. I'd agree with you... see my last post on the HR sensor (day 7). I am not about to give up my Garmin or Strava account for it; it's fun having the sleep data and the HR "data" from runs but if it's not as accurate as I hoped then it's really just a toy. The lack of cycling features is really going to make it useless for triathletes - there's no way to distinguish your rides from your runs!

    The various notifications my phone, the calendar, weather, etc might keep me using it long after I stop using the fitness features. I still applaud Microsoft for a great first-attempt, I just really hope they open up the data!

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  4. +1 on the need for GPX export for Strava integration.

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