In a sense, fitness and wellness clubs are all about preparation; preparing the body and mind for longevity and keeping yourself running like a well-oiled machine. Of course, wellness is equal parts activity and relaxation alike – but unfortunately, when it comes to industry navigators like the owners of said clubs, then relaxation may not be much of an option.
Why? Well, we elaborated on how competition in the sector has swelled enormously in the last decade, and club managers are doing all they can to keep their respective ships afloat. Many of their efforts involve expanding the range of offerings. To keep their clubs agile, they are also increasingly looking towards technology to compensate for the rise in demand, and consumer expectations.
Of course, the ubiquitous smartphone is involved when it comes to integrating technology – but it doesn’t really stop there. Biosensing technology has evolved to include intelligent wearables and other devices that transmit information to the smartphone and vice-versa, and create a nexus of information – this can be contained, assimilated and managed with the help of the proper Gym/Club Management software; another thing discussed in our last blogpost.
However, our focus for this post is this nexus of information – because the interaction of intelligent devices – be it smartphones, wearables or otherwise – is something that the tech world is ablaze with nowadays.
It’s called the Information of Things, short for the IoT – and even if you’re a casual tech aficionado, there are chances that this term has not missed you.
Well, to simply tell you what it is – the ‘internet’ of things refers to a network created by several devices with sensors, enabling the seamless sharing of information through bare objects. Things like smart mirrors, clothing, umbrellas and what-have-you are flooding the market, and they are all part of the new IoT revolution. In effect, the concept details that everything can be interconnected.
The IoT is affecting all sorts of businesses, and the fitness industry should be no exception. Thus, this article shows you the various aspects of what an ‘intelligent’ gym, or club will look like when bolstered by the powers of the IoT. In the same vein, we hope to encourage you when it comes to the adoption of this technology in your own ventures, because the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Let us take a look at what we mean!
The primitive imagination of a gym does not say much about personalization – people rarely trusted themselves with what they actually wanted in terms of getting fit, so most of it was heavily reliant on human agency – in the form of a trainer, therapist or specialist. Now, however, the rise of personalized trackers tells us a different story.
Increased smartphone and computer penetration has led to people becoming more self-aware, and wanting to monitor their own workouts. As the world slowly heads towards a time-crunch, they are taking their health and wellness into their own hands and smartphones – which includes intelligent devices like Fitbits on their wrists.
For a club owner, this spells one thing – you need intelligent infrastructure that provides your consumers with this ability. The ability to monitor their health in tangible, easy to understand terms.
It can start with intelligent equipment – enabled with a sensor, which can then interact with your phone over the WiFi. For example, say, a pair of weights. When you walk by them, you get an alert on your smartphone about how to use the weights, what their dimensions are, and how to get the results you desire based on your personal information on an app!
This is not just a handy gimmick. Say that all your equipment is equipped with a sensor, and transmits information into a database. This database can help you with your inventory (you’ll know exactly how many pieces of equipment you have, what you are lacking etc.) and in addition, can help you in maintaining said equipment due to wear and tear.
If any of your customers see machines and equipment in your fitness club being out of commission, they are likely to look for something more efficient down the line. For people who religiously make their work out a part of their daily routine, such a thing actually can be more impactful than you think, as they’re relying on you to give them their workout, right?
Also, quite a lot of equipment can be hazardous if it’s not functioning correctly – think treadmills – and injuries are definitely NOT what you need when it comes to your fitness venture.
The constant flow of information in real time can help you fix these problems faster than you would in a typical, non IoT enabled club.
If you have club management software installed, then another added benefit could be the efficient monitoring of your workforce with the help of apps on their phones, or wearables. This takes care of scheduling issues, servicing issues and so on – the list is myriad.
Another important factor is the environment inside the club. This can also be maintained, and regulated with the help of smart environmental sensors in the equipment – or other infrastructure like the lighting, and the cooling system, which can be self-regulating if the ambient weather conditions are changing.
The lighting itself can be adjusted on the fly, for day or night-time, as clubs aren’t limited to a particular time in the day.
This element doesn’t only refer to equipment getting ‘borrowed’ or stolen – it also refers to the data that is being transmitted from your consumers to your database and vice-versa. By securely putting it on the cloud – encrypted and so on, of course – you can ensure the handy access to consumer data at your fingertips, whenever you need it.
The same goes for your equipment and other gear.
More data equals more analytics – imagine, you can collect data from all kinds of sources, be it wearables from your users to your equipment, to even your weight racks and mirrors (that’s right!) – and analyze it to understand consumer behavior.
This can considerably help you enhance consumer experience, while also helping you acquire more consumers if you rig your club with lead management software and other installations – like a geofence, which can even tag passers-by and convert them into members.
Well, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Internet of Gyms, or Clubs, has already been implemented in some places, and you can look forward to approaching tech providers with the same requests – perhaps your next venture will be the market disrupting one, in the most intelligent manner possible?July 11, 2017