If you’re reeling from a bit of acronym-overload, not to worry. PAN—or “personal area network”—as it relates to fitness apps is a very technical term used to describe technology that you’re probably using effortlessly every day. In this post, we’ll be exploring what PAN is, why that’s important for fitness applications and what we could see come from that relationship in the future.
PAN, short for “personal area network,” refers to a network of devices that transmit data to each other. So when your iBooks on your MacBook knows which page you’ve previously read to on your iPhone, that’s happening because of a personal area network—those devices are connected and talking to each other. It’s called “personal” because the breadth of the network doesn’t extend to your personal devices. For context, there are larger and smaller breadths of network connections—LAN, or “local area network,” could refer to the network of computers at your work or school, while WPAN, or “wireless personal area network” refers to smaller-scale device relationships like the bluetooth in your wireless headphones.
So now that we’ve got the hang of personal area networks, it’s not a big stretch to see how they relate to fitness applications. Whether you’re wearing a FitBit or Apple Watch, an anklet or heart rate monitor, these devices all connect and talk to each other. They’re measuring different things – steps per day, calories burned, sleep patterns, among others – then communicating those measurements back to a central hub (usually your smart watch or phone) to create a robust picture of your fitness realities as you progress. The premiere personal area network solution for the fitness industry was created by Dynastream and is called ANT.
For fitness applications and devices to become truly seamless with everyday health, they’ll need to be able to measure and track the precise muscle and joint movements required in weightlifting and stretching. Thanks to companies like Los Angeles startup FocusMotion, we’re seeing some of these things start to become possible – devices will be able to ascertain which exercises you’re performing and for how many reps. This all means that PAN solutions will have to evolve in tandem to transfer more and ever-varying information as they partner with these fitness applications to help you keep tabs on you.
Delphian Systems has domain expertise in ANT including networking of ANT devices, and connecting those networks with application level security to the cloud. Contact us about further discussion about your ANT application.
Delphian Systems is an engineering firm specializing in the development and integration of secure wireless devices, mobile and cloud application systems, and micro-electromechanical actuators and sensor devices. We provide complete end-to-end solutions for customer-partners whose products require interoperability with mobile devices and seamless and secure network connectivity.