How your workout fuels the cloud

Your fitness devices all talk to cloud services -- and show how our interactions with data are getting more complex

Summer's coming, and it's Speedo season again (kidding) -- so it's back to the gym. As I stare out to space on the treadmill, I can't help but notice that this year I have more devices strapped to me, more data-collecting apps on my iPhone, and more cloud services that are ready to receive and process my data. It's not just the Fitbit anymore.

I'm beginning to understand why people consider cloud computing to be so complex. Let's look at how my workout, diet, and telemetry data are processed to understand how quickly info can spin out of control.

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My Bluetooth-enabled heart-rate monitor gathers data on my iPhone via the Runtastic app. This includes activity, time spent, and things I do to see if I can make my heart blow out of my chest. That data is uploaded to the Runtastic cloud after each workout.

However, cardio is only part of the game. There's also diet, and I use MyFitnessPal to track my food intake. MyFitnessPal also runs on my iPhone and sends data to the Runtastic cloud. That way, I can count my workout calories against that extra glass of wine I tend to sneak in before bedtime.

However, metrics around my weight also are important, so I use the Withings Wi-Fi-connected scale that measures both my weight and body mass index and uploads both to the Withings cloud. Withings can share my weight with Runtastic and MyFitnessPal, and they can share data with the Withings cloud. I would add a Fitbit to the mix, but the whole setup could come crashing down like a house of cards.

My fitness cloud example is simple compared to how some people I know use different applications and devices for different sports (such as biking and running) and have nearly a dozen cloud services tracking performance, health, activity, sleep, workouts, food -- you name it.

As the number of cloud services increases, as does the use of multicloud connected services, we're going to face problems. The ability to integrate data among clouds is great, but the more data you connect, the more cumbersome it get. When you have dozens -- even hundreds -- of cloud-connected apps and peripherals, can you and the vendors make it all work together?

We need to think more about how we're going to manage the complexity ahead. In the meantime, I'll be at the gym with 10 pounds of gear strapped to my body. Wish me luck!

This article, "How your workout fuels the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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