While the ASO may have it’s own GPS-based live tracking for the Tour de France, virtually every other event out there -large or small- have had to rely on mid-course beacons, timing stations or just posting finish line results for everyone to know where and when the competitors might be.
The new Quarq Qollector aims to change all that. By packaging multi-sensor ANT+ data capture with GPS positioning and cellular data transmission, the device gathers power, heart rate, speed, cadence and even gearing selection and more. The data is collected four times per second, then beamed up once per minute.
The data is then sent to the cloud (Qloud?), where Quarq makes it available to be shared in real time and en masse…
For the individual user, the Qollector will be more interesting to those riding for extended periods of time or on multi-day treks thanks to its 24+ hour battery life. There’ll be a smartphone app that displays the data and shows basic metrics, but the heart of the system will be their cloud-based online platform called Quarq Race Intelligence. From there, your data can be automatically shared to Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc., or sent to DropBox as a .FIT file.
At launch, though, it’s mainly aimed at event promoters that want to share participant data in real time, whether that’s on a scoreboard or online or both. It can be shown as leaderboards and rider positions on a map on the Quarq Race Intelligence website. How that information transforms into a more robust display of information, though, will be left to third parties (like Strava, etc.) – Quarq is mainly creating the hardware and the means of delivering data, leaving it to others to find the best use of the open source platform.
The benefit for small teams and concerned family members is obvious, too, which makes the monthly subscription fee potentially worth it. They’ll even be able to see how hard your working by viewing your HR and power in real time. They’ve contracted with AT&T to provide the 3G GSM cellular data plan, but pricing for the service is TBD. They’d actually like to hear from you what you’d like to get out of a dedicated end-consumer service and what price levels work. Ready, set, comment!
The Qollector is smaller than a deck of cards, weighs 114g and charges with a micro-USB in about an hour. It’s waterproof and impact resistant. Turn it on, shove it in your jersey pocket or pack and it works all ride long. Tap it and it’ll vibrate for a second to confirm it’s on and running, a handy feature if you’re setting it up before a triathlon and need to leave it on and in your bike kit while you head to the swim. Simply pressing the power button again stops the ride, and all data is automatically sent to the cloud.
Operation is exceedingly simple, push the button to turn it on and hold it next to your device. It uses proximity pairing, making the connection by simply tapping it on the power meter, heart rate monitor, etc. Those first two have dedicated icons that light up when they’re paired. Everything else shares the small “-” icon below them, which will glow steady once one other device is paired and flash as each additional device joins in.
For race promoters, the device is ready now and they’re looking for partners to incorporate it into their events. Rental pricing will be provided directly from Quarq based on event size, etc., with support available on site, remotely or both.