High Performance App for High Performing Athletes
is a global leader in performance footwear, apparel and equipment, made for athletes. An extension of its brand is the Under Armour Connected Fitness™ platform, which powers the world's largest digital health and fitness community through a suite of applications: UA Record, MapMyFitness, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal.
The Challenge: Delivering an Optimal User Experience and Scaling to Meet Demand
UA Record is Under Armour’s definitive health and fitness network. Launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2015, UA Record serves as a dashboard providing a single view of data from various fitness tracking devices and apps. UA Record enables users to sync a wide array of data, including motion and GPS activity tracking from mobile sensors and third-party devices, and provides analysis from individual workouts and a total snapshot of users’ progress, including steps, sleep, caloric burn, heart rate and weight. The app also enables users to share content, such as videos, photos and workout stories, and provides access to original content on nutrition, training methodologies, injury prevention and more directly from leading health and fitness experts.
As Under Armour was creating UA Record, developers began looking for a solution that would enable it to host a large quantity of images and video, and simplify image sizing and transformation. The company’s various fitness apps – which encourage professional athletes and weekend warriors to share images and other details of their workouts – have more than 150 million registered users.
Developers researched various solutions that could meet their needs, and concluded Cloudinary was a perfect fit. “We saw that Cloudinary could not only host our growing collection of images and transform them for fast delivery, it also would allow us to back up images in our own Amazon bucket and provided strong documentation and SDKs to help us deploy it,” Hanifen noted. “This was important to us because we needed a solution that was capable of speeding up our development cycles and was cost-competitive.”
The Cloudinary Solution: Supporting Scale and Delivering Quality Images Quickly
Once the decision to implement Cloudinary was made, Under Armour was able to quickly take the solution into production and began moving much of its content for UA Record and MapMyFitness to Cloudinary in late 2014/early 2015.
Cloudinary hosts profile images for users of those two apps, as well as their status posts, which can include photo and video attachments. All totaled, as of October 2015, more than 5.5 million images were in Cloudinary, and growing by 10% per month.
“Beyond the short time we spent to initially set up Cloudinary, there has been very little work needed to support our scale and growth” Hanifen said. “We’ve been able to easily add various features and functionality over time, right out of the box. As a product manager in an engineering organization, anytime we can implement something new and not have to go back and re-engineer things, that’s a compelling value.”
Among the features that Under Armour utilizes most are related to image optimization. “When we can optimize a photo that someone took during a trail run, that’s where the magic happens” Hanifen noted. “We get delight from our users when they can quickly upload photos, and those pictures look better than they did on their phone.”
Cloudinary Partners with Under Armour For Continuous Improvements
While the Cloudinary technology is meeting Under Armour’s needs to deliver a great user experience, while hosting an increasingly large number of images and scaling to meet the explosive demand for its fitness apps, it’s the close working relationship the two companies have developed that is an added bonus.
“Cloudinary has reached out to us with suggestions on how we can improve our product and reduce our costs by using their tools,” Hanifen noted. “It’s a rare experience to have a vendor that works so closely with you to offer such suggestions.”
He said that the Cloudinary staff has continually been available to answer questions, give advice and talk about other features. “It’s really nice to not be treated like you’re just another customer; that we have a partner we can go to with our unique challenges” he added. “They have been open to sharing their product roadmap and considering ways to adapt the technology to solve for those needs.”