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ARDA coaching software will revolutionise fitness wearables

A New Zealand-based startup, Performance Lab, reckons it has the key to unlocking the usefulness of fitness wearables.

Right now, these wearables measure and produce a load of data such as times, distances, heart rate and much more, but this big jumble of data isn’t much use in itself. You can pick out highlights, of course, like a best time – but the majority of the massed stats aren’t that helpful to the user in their bare form.

But what if there was a system which intelligently interpreted all this data, and then relayed advice to the user, acting as a kind of AI personal trainer? That’s what Performance Lab hopes it can bring to market – the ARDA Coaching Engine (spotted by VentureBeat), which offers direct and tailored advice for the fitness fanatic.

Performance Lab’s system can use the variables a fitness band tracks to offer advice such as “take it easy on this next hill – you’re showing signs of muscle fatigue”, for example. Practical and highly useful snippets, in other words. It’s even designed to do things like look at the upcoming terrain on a bike ride route, and suggest that it’s “suitable for a big gear time trial for the next 10km”, to take another example the company cites.

The ARDA engine can crunch all sorts of data on the terrain, weather, your recent performance, sleep patterns, and make suggestions about rest periods – perhaps an easier workout this week – and other advice to help you better manage your fitness and well-being in general.

This software looks very interesting indeed, and this sort of intelligent guidance will certainly help spread the adoption of fitness wearables. If it gets things right, of course, and bugs or inaccurate advice don’t ruin the experience.

However, Intel, for one, is confident in Performance Lab’s system, to the point where it has invested in the company.

Deepak Natarajan, Investment Director of Intel Capital, commented: “ARDA will change the way people engage with fitness and exercise. 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.”

The ARDA software can be cloud-based or local on the piece of fitness hardware, and Performance Lab is working with “several partners” right now to get the coaching system on a number of fitness devices. Keen runners and cyclists, keep your eyes peeled…

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.