ANT+ (sometimes ANT + or ANT Plus) is an interoperability function that can be added to the base ANT protocol (a proprietary open access multicast wireless sensor network technology). It encourages interoperability and open-access to data between manufacturers of "smartphones, bike computers, diagnostics, power meters, heart rate monitors, remote control systems, etc." and is promoted by the ANT+ Alliance.
ANT+ is primarily designed for the interoperable collection and transfer of sensor data as well as the integration of remote control systems such as indoor lighting, phone control, etc. Several main focuses of operation include sport, wellness, home health and remote control. It can be used for data-transfer for a number of devices:
- heart rate monitors
- speed sensors
- cadence sensors
- foot pods
- power meters
- activity monitors
- body mass index measuring devices
- blood pressure monitors
- blood glucose meters
- pulse oximeters
- position tracking
- short range homing beacons (Disc Golf, GeoCaching)
- weight measuring devices
- control of music players
- control of lighting
- temperature sensors
- light electric vehicle monitoring
- fitness equipment
This allows for it to be used for general fitness tasks, medical and remote control functions. Currently ANT+ is implemented on more than 35 applications, produced by over 27 different manufacturers.
The ANT+ Alliance is organized by Dynastream Innovations Inc, a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. As of September 30, 2010 it had more than 300 members, including Adidas AG, Concept2, Garmin, Suunto, McLaren, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Mobile, Texas Instruments, Timex and Trek.
ANT+ Plugins on Android
The ANT+ Plugins are a collection of system services which provide a simple, common interface for apps to communicate with ANT+ devices across all Android versions and platforms for which it is available.
The ANT+ Plugins abstract the underlying technical workings of ANT such as pairing and decoding of ANT+ data before passing it onto the apps which greatly reduces the effort required to add ANT+ functionality to Android apps for developers.
The abstraction provided by the ANT Radio Service also means any type of ANT hardware support such as USB sticks over USB OTG, Android USB Accessory, ANT over IPv4 in Android emulators, etc, is supported without requiring app developer effort.
The ANT+ Plugins also feature multi-app concurrency, where any number of apps may have access to the same data coming from the same sensor simultaneously, and any number of phones/devices may read data from the same sensor simultaneously. This opens additional use cases such as always-on background monitoring for multiple apps or group training, and further reduces the burden on developers by helping to ensure them access to device data no matter which apps may be running at the moment.