ITGS Case Study 2017: Protocols and Standard Data Formats

ITGS Case Study 2017 makes reference to ANT+ protocol  and the standard data formats XML, GPX and TCM: “The first of these used new protocols such as ANT+ to connect the watch to other fitness devices (eg heart rate monitors, bicycle power meters, gym cross trainers, etc) to record other data on the device. The second prototype synchronized data with several different fitness websites and cloud storage using various standard data formats, such as XML.” (ITGS Case Study 2017)

The key words are protocol and standard data format.  The Case Study specifically refers to ‘standard data format’ and not only to  ‘standard’ because there are many of kinds of standards in IT.

Figure 3 below from ITGS Case Study 2017 is a good starting point for understanding the role of ANT+, HTTP(S) protocols between different kinds of IT devices.

What is a protocol?

A protocol is”…a set of rules or procedures for transmitting data between electronic devices, such as computers. In order for computers to exchange information, there must be a preexisting agreement as to how the information will be structured and how each side will send and receive it. “ (

Both ANT+ and HTTP(S) are protocols used between different IT devices for specific purposes. ANT+ is used to send information directly between a wearable device and another device, both of these devices need to be able to use ANT+ Protocol. Whereas, HTTP(S) is used for data transfer between devices on the Web. Further details about ANT+ are available at

Video explanation of ANT+ relating to Case Study 2017: ANT+ for Indoor Fitness

What is the standard data format XML?

XML means Extensible Markup Language. The code looks somewhat like HTML, but the tags are not predefined as is the case in HTML. The user can define their own tags. The format for the XML code provides a database-type structure for the data as demonstrated on the following website. The structure also allows for the import of the data into various applications.

Related topic: XML formats for exporting activities (such as GPX and TCX)

The Case Study 2017 also refers to GPX and TCX data formats for exporting data from wearable technologies. What are these formats? Both are explained on the website below.

Example of data export from a wearable device is available at

It further demonstrates the format of the database-like structure.


ANT+ is the protocol, set of rules or procedures, that allows for the transmission of data between ANT+ enabled devices.

XML is a way of structuring data in a standard database-like format so that it can be transmitted over various protocols.

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