With the Apple Watch now out for over a month, users are slowly but surely adapting to the company’s debut wearable tech, and trying out a number of apps in the process.
Many of these include health-related applications, and RockMyRun is one of the companies involved in this field. The company has released an updated application for Apple Watch that provides users with music selections that sync up with body actions, whether it’s walking, running or even skipping. It also intends to add even more data through its signature myBeat Heart feature, once it becomes available publicly for app developers.
We recently sat down with RockMyRun’s CEO and co-founder Adam Riggs-Zeigen about what kind of work goes into the development of such an app, as well as how it managed to capture the right marketing angle for the Apple Watch, especially so close to its launch.
[a]listdaily: First off, what would you say is the greatest challenge in developing an application for a new device?
Adam: We were of course thrilled to have a chance to visit Apple’s Headquarters to test the RockMyRun app on Apple Watches, however, I’d say the biggest challenge was more about the amount of data available to developers and the transparency during the development process as to what would maybe “normally” be available. It was surprisingly limited. For example, we aren’t able to access the continuous heart rate data from the watch. While we were able to create a work around, it added a bit of time on to our development process and isn’t the most efficient way to offer the feature of music playing with the beat of your heart — a major differentiator for us. We have strong hope that Apple continues to expand what is available for developers to use to create the ultimate experience for the user.
[a]listdaily: Tell us about the development of RockMyRun. How hard was it to put together an application that syncs up a person’s motions with music selections?
Adam: Using biometric feedback like steps and heart rate to personalize the music experience is core to the Rock My World mission. We have spent hundreds of hours researching, working with runners, walkers and mathematicians to create an experience we believe to be magical and effective. Music that reacts to you to give you what you need while still maintaining integrity in its sound is not an easy thing to do. We have some IP around the process and continue to refine our algorithms and features to improve how we’re delivering this unique offering. Furthermore, we have a library of content that is created in an almost scientific manner and is actually proven to deliver an increase in intrinsic motivation during running (up to 35 percent). More details on the findings can be found here.
[a]listdaily: What would you say was the biggest hardship in putting the app together?
Adam: Testing, testing, testing! RockMyRun is an app that over a million people use everyday in order to better enjoy exercise. As a result, it needs to both get them to a great experience quickly and be there for them in home stretch of their half-marathon. You can’t have a glitch when someone is relying on you!
Additionally, RockMyRun is not a one-dimensional app. Our content and our technology are layered together in a very specific fashion to drive motivation and performance. As a result, we have a better service for fitness and exercise than say streaming services like Pandora, Spotify or someone’s personally created playlist — we were able to scientifically prove that in a study with the University of California, San Diego. The trick for us is presenting a fairly complex system in an easily digestible format that gets people in — because for us, hearing and experiencing it is truly believing.
[a]listdaily: How do you feel about the state of marketing for the Apple Watch right now? Do you think it’s rife with possibilities for your app? Are there any genuine obstacles to overcome?
Adam: We strongly believe that data from your body should be used to curate your experience. We’re experts at curating motivational content/music in the fitness tech space. We see a ton of opportunity with Apple Watch, however, the adoption and ongoing user loyalty rate of the product has yet to be proven. Making wearables a habitual, continuous part of people’s lives is core to our master vision. This is something we’re closely monitoring to see if Apple (as a historical catalyst for behavior change) can impact. It has yet to be accomplished by any leader in this space, so we are waiting and watching, as are many others.
[a]listdaily: What has been early response to your application thus far? Are there any tweaks you’re looking to make to the app after it’s been released?
Adam: We have over 1 million users, consistent 4.5 star ratings and have scientifically verified that RockMyRun can boost motivation by 35 percent during exercise. To boot, we have proven that people are willing to pay for the full experience and suite of advanced technology. These are huge milestones and validation for our service. At this point, we’re still waiting to see how the Apple Watch platform helps us continue to expand our mission of helping people achieve their goals. We currently have a plan in place to improve a few bugs on the watch app, but we’re waiting to receive more feedback from our users and the industry as a whole before we implement any additional major updates to the watch app. Once we see how people use the app and how much data Apple is willing to share with developers from the watch, we’ll make that call. Time will tell.
More details on RockMyRun’s application can be found here.