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My Shoes Have Bluetooth and I Must Scream: UnderArmor's Hovr and MapMyRun

 Other potential titles included "Walking With the Enemy" and "Internet of Shoestrings".

I'm not against the concept of the Internet of Things - IoT - but the severe lack of security installed on a commercial level, the lack of education for end users, and the growing reliance on technology in our world.

The people who are best at their job have hobbies away from the machine. Some of mine include exercise, running, walking - I go through sneakers quick and hard.

So I got some cool shoes - Under Armor HOVR

 

Under Armour HOVR shoes in black, yellow, orange, and white

They're not on the site but here they are. I got them from an outlet mall, could be discontinued.

 

I didn't realize until I got home that they had the Bluetooth insignia both within them and on the box.

 

 

Under Armour Map My Run App Sticker


 Turns out, there's an app for the shoes, because they have Bluetooth components in the heel.


Shoes.

 

Have Bluetooth.

 

In the heel.

 

Under Armour Bluetooth chip in the sole of a shoe

Right there! 


Imagine yourself as a "closed" ad-hoc network -  Using short-range connectivity to track your performance makes sense. Your phone, your shoes. Is this network working together to build a profile about you to use for advertising new products to? Of course.

 

The setup involves tapping and moving the right shoe, "to reset the connection". I downloaded and gave permissions on my iPhone - The one without a SIM card. The location can still be tracked, due to connectivity to my local Wi-Fi, but I toggled "approximate location" over "precise".


It took time for my phone to connect. At first, I thought my shoes were simply the kind of footwear we have been wearing for hundreds of years - Bluetooth-free. But no, after a moment, they were found and connected.

Under Armour...app?

"Hang on, we're updating your shoes with the latest features." Is something this app told me.

 

 Shoes may be the one object within the Internet of Things that will keep working if the connection dies.

The app offers "real-time coaching" - "Grab your favorite headphones" - Theirs have the UA logo prominently placed - "and follow the audio cues [...] bringing you closer to your running goals."

If other people would enjoy that, good for them.

Apple's latest non tracking feature is handy when it comes to some of these permissions - When could apps track my activity across other companies apps and websites?

As this phone does not leave my house, I decide to test the app by...putting on my shoes and getting on my balance board for several minutes.

 

What a time to be alive. 

 

 
 

While calories were counted - Somehow - it doesn't count actual distance wobbled on a board, which my Fitbit Versa can do. 

 
 
 
 
Under Armour App



There's a simple dashboard to keep track of weekly activity. If I can export that data, it may be interesting to play with in Tableau.

 

There's a social media feed where people share their exercise accomplishments.  


Under Armour App


I'm grateful my shoes don't connect to my Wi-Fi network, but who knows - Maybe it's only a matter of time until it joins Amazon Sidewalk as a node, flashing my location to other devices in my neighborhood.


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