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Technology Trends Disrupting the Fitness Industry

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Everywhere we look and go, our lives are intersecting with technology — it is literally woven into almost every aspect of our lives. The fitness industry is no exception as we see new concepts introduced at a rapid pace.

Just think about the latest treadmills showcasing a virtual coach — digital content, interactive wearables, gamification in classes, mobile apps with member loyalties and rewards associated with gym participation, and the list goes on. On the gym management side, we see the race for software is a one-stop shop for all business processes, including member management, procurement, equipment, facilities and of course, technology management.

Critical to the scaling of fitness groups is adopting a business process automation software that provides all owners with efficiency and increased profitability, not to mention higher member satisfaction. The “golden goose,” however, lies in the data collected in the process.

The return on investment (ROI) on the predictive business intelligence gathered of member activity allows owners to stay ahead of trends in their respective clubs, see problems before they impact the customer experience, and maximize revenue opportunities for the business itself. Now, owners can make decisions based on facts, rather than relying on intuition only. Owners can also benefit from the monetization of data produced by such integrated devices, such as Wi-Fi.

Digital content, interactive and virtual group classes, and real-time health analysis has new membership soaring at a record pace across the industry. While these things are attractive to members, it has created a demand for strong technology partners on the backend. The amount of bandwidth required to now run a basic gym is also at an all-time high. Understanding how to make all these things work together in unison can be a daunting task.

2020 should prove to be an interesting year regarding the adoption of disruptive industry technology and making it all work with your existing systems. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made every device, from TVs to treadmills, accessible anytime and anywhere. However, extreme caution must be taken not to haphazardly introduce such devices without the diligence required to ensure cyber security policies are not compromised in the process, as such potential IoT devices can serve as a Trojan horse into your network for unethical hackers — exposing sensitive data such as customer financial data.

Finding a technology partner that can work side-by-side, and look ahead and around corners is paramount to developing and integrating a unified technology roadmap. To avoid placing blame on poorly designed workflows or digital transformation initiatives, owners should select a technology partner skilled at commercial integration work, software development, cyber security and managed services support — all in-house and not outsourced to a third party. The future of the fitness industry is here now — for those who can remember, or at least remember the story, we are all racing to the moon. You don’t have to be first, but you sure don’t want to be the last.

Shannon Anderson is the president of global client engagement for CieloIT and sits on the Board of Directors for Cielo Global Holdings. He has over 20 years of experience and received his Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in kinesiology, and has an M.Ed. in educational leadership and administration. He can be reached at sanderson@cieloit.com or 806.410.1302. Visit cieloit.com for more information.

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