CES 2018 Shows The Future Of Technology for Fitness
The Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone for the year once again. With it, we have seen the latest round of technology that is either directly related to fitness, or which you could apply to the gym business with a little imagination.
Wearables and Trackers
The health and fitness exhibitors at CES for 2018 were more full of enthusiasm for technology than ever before and with good reason. There were more wearable devices on display than ever before, and it looks to me like the functionality factor is rising.
Wearables are improving sleep health, which is perhaps an easy win for the technology. Many of the devices on display at the show related to sleep in some way. This might be because they believe sleep is so important, which it is. Or it could be a good idea that is becoming more accessible as technology evolves.
Peloton Stands Apart at CES Again
Last year, the Peloton branded stationary bike caused a stir by revealing a commercial grade unit for hotels and boutique fitness centers. Gyms and hotels have been distributing the bike throughout the world, and its influence is changing the travel habits of the company’s fans.
This year, the Peloton Tread will do the same for the treadmill, revealed at CES, on sale late 2018. A Peloton Tread or bike in your studio might be a connection into this club of enthusiasts. It will also bring Peloton trainers into your studio or gym space by proxy.
Do VR Gyms Mean Sharing Sweaty Headbands?
It looks like there is at least one company that takes the VR environment seriously virtual gym startup Black Box was a hit at CES apparently. That outfit is launching a gym in San Francisco, where you strap on a visor and then fire up a fantastic experience.
Well, maybe. I’m not so sure about people sharing headsets. But then it can’t be much worse than using the bowling shoes at your local alley, right?
Is IoT an Oddball Technology?
The latest CES shows that companies are applying IoT to everything, from shoes to golf clubs to hospitals. And of course, some wearables connect to the cloud and capture data to improve health and alert for medical conditions.
While there may or may not be a bright future for IoT with consumers, it is definitely helping large companies that control extensive property portfolios. A small gym can benefit from connected equipment, e.g., a Peloton Tread.
The big box gym brands get the benefit of slashing their overheads even further. IoT helps track building performance and maintenance. A handful of connected light bulbs may be an oddity, but when you use them by the thousand, it’s a cost center to manage and optimize.
Data In Business Profits Out
Gym owners can connect anything that uses power: HVAC, lighting, door locks water usage, paper towel dispensers, vending machines, and gym equipment. The data helps them use the data they collect to manage operations more efficiently and find opportunities for new market segments hidden in the numbers.
Even a small gym business with a single location would benefit from efficient lighting units that you can control via a Wi-Fi router. You can monitor usage and control the hue and brightness to set the mood or save electricity. The lights are a capital cost to purchase, but IoT connected LED light bulbs will help save on the cost of lights that burn 24/7.
Technology Is A Lever Not A Crutch
At the end of the day, CES 2018 confirms that technology is terrific, providing new opportunities to the gym owners and fitness startup founders who have the imagination to apply it in new ways, it also helps corporations to run more efficiently.
What matters most in all of this is still the human element. If you know how to work with people to get positive results from their training and make it a fun and rewarding experience along the way, you can still survive and thrive in fitness.
If you can bring passion to the equation and run your business from a coffee house Wi-Fi, you have already won the most crucial battle. If you can attract paying members to meet-ups in the local park, you can bootstrap your way into a studio and equipment as a natural progression.
Technology is getting more accessible and affordable every year. Consumer wearables, the IoT, and connected equipment are most definitely the developments to watch. But you can also begin a career and enterprise with very little if you have the right key applications, the passion, and mindset to win.
Consumer Technology Association. Fitness & Technology. https://www.ces.tech/Show-Floor/Marketplaces/Fitness.aspx (accessed March 6, 2018).
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Taylor, Jordyn. The Top 10 Health and Fitness Products We Saw at CES 2018. January 11, 2018. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/ces-2018-best-health-fitness-products (accessed March 6, 2018).
Women’sHealth. The Best New Health and Fitness Tech Out There. January 12, 2017. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/fitness-tech-products-ces-2017 (accessed March 6, 2018).