Fitness Industry's New Protocol, FTMS

Fitness Industry's New Protocol, FTMS

Technology is taking the Fitness Industry by storm. New fitness apps and gadgets are being made on a daily basis. Firmware updates are being pushed out constantly just to stay up to date or ahead of the industry. So, what is this FTMS and why is it so important to the Fitness Industry?

FTMS is the new FiTness Machine Service protocol to control fitness equipment, such as bike trainers, treadmills and rowing machines.

Most fitness equipment runs by ANT+ protocols which is what most fitness apps support. A fitness app that runs with ANT+ can have any fitness equipment that is ANT+ as well. The problem with ANT+ is that it doesn’t connect directly with many phones or tablets. They need Bluetooth.

Making Bluetooth bike trainers and other fitness machines available for each fitness app is difficult because each sensor historically required a specific protocol. At the rate of newly made gadgets, there’s no way that app developers would be able to keep up. So as technology is rapidly changing, the fitness industry must as well.

Previously, ANT+ sensors’ protocols would connect with fitness apps through 4 different Bluetooth services depending on the sensor being used. Those services are Heart Rate Service (HRS), Cycling Power Service (CPS), Cycling Speed & Cadence Service (CSCS), and Running Speed & Cadence Service (RSCS). Each fitness application would accept only certain sensors and take in only certain Bluetooth services. This is why fitness apps would work with only certain fitness machines. Now, the fitness industry wants to standardize this so that all bike trainers and other fitness machines can be used with the desired fitness application. That’s where FTMS comes in.

App developers are working to implement the FTMS protocol into the fitness apps so that all bike trainers and fitness machine can be controlled in one’s workout.

Most fitness applications will eventually become FTMS compatible. In the meantime, CABLE’s recent firmware update makes it possible to work with other fitness apps that are not yet FTMS. Because of this, you will need to assign your ANT+ sensors to different Bluetooth services, such as HRS, CPS, CSCS, and RSCS since not all fitness apps work with FTMS. We recommend trying to connect your ANT+ sensors to FTMS first because many fitness apps will soon be FTMS, which is the preferred service to use.

The diagram below show which Bluetooth service can connect to the desired fitness app. This diagram is also a tool to know which Bluetooth service should be used with the desired fitness app.

Assignments Include:

HRS: Heart Rate

CPS: Cycling Power

CSCS: Cycling Speed & Cadence

RSCS: Running Speed & Cadence

FTMS: Fitness Machine

 

Note: The fitness apps on this diagram are not limited to what CABLE can be used with, these are just a few common fitness apps.

Exceptions:

  • Zwift Cycling is not FTMS, Zwift Running is FTMS (as indicated by the purple dotted line).
  • TrainerRoad allows only 1 supported service.