Going mobile. For many, this expression has become cliché. It’s time to face the facts. Today we know that nearly two thirds of Americans are smartphone owners, while almost 51 percent exercise with their smartphone in the club.
As the mobile revolution hits the fitness industry, more and more clubs are engaging with members via a club app. Imagine if checking-into the club or grabbing a smoothie was as quick and easy as a phone tap. Together with club management software companies, hardware providers are offering solutions that make this possibility a reality.
You might ask, “How can my members make club purchases with their mobile phones?” Unlike bar or QR codes, a Near Field Communication (NFC) based membership ID cannot be copied and has the ability to communicate with compatible devices, unleashing the opportunity to create one technology platform across your entire club.
Today, most club operators have a myriad of different management tools like a building security system that’s separate from the club management software. With one club management system, based upon a single technology, the challenge and cost of multiple tools is eliminated.
Luckily there are integrated system solutions, combining NFC-hardware with third-party club management software, that empower operators to benefit from a more connected club environment. In such a club, members can conveniently check-in, use a locker and make purchases all with one NFC based membership ID.
These integrated system solutions include:
- Electronic Locking Systems for lockers that require members to check-in before they use a locker.
- Cashless Payment that empowers members to make purchases from facility vending machines with their membership IDs.
- Access Control that offers the ability to secure and control external and internal doors with a club management software.
- Check-In solutions that can be used at a front desk or as a member check-in tool for classes and activities.
What’s exciting is the list of networked applications is ever growing. Take for example cardio fitness equipment. Today industry leaders are working together to create an international technology standard and establish easy data communications among different fitness equipment brands and applications. In the connected club, all equipment brands will be networked via the internet and communicate via a standardized solution to one management software.
With such a platform in place, servicing cardio fitness equipment will be simplified. Everyone knows that better maintained equipment is safer and increased safety translates to lower liability and litigation risk.
The Future is At-Hand
In today’s world, where the internet of things is all present, members can have access to the entirety of a club’s offerings through one device, whilst operators require fewer management tools. This technology is not tomorrow’s. It’s here today.
As the list of market players continues to grow, more and more devices will be networked together. The health club of 2016 and into the future will be increasingly connected, offering benefits for both members and operators alike.
Gerhard Pichler is the business development manager of GANTNER Technologies. Contact him for more information at 844.703.1139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.