(Editors' Note: This sponsored article by CieloIT is part of Club Industry's report, "Fitness Trends: Spotlight on 2020.")
As we pause to reflect on 2019—no, wait, we don’t really have time for that because we have to get to the gym and try out the latest treadmill showcasing a virtual coach. But before we can do that, we need to ask Alexa to schedule someone to pick up our kids from school. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but we are moving at hyper-speed regarding disruptive technology in our world. Everywhere we look and go our lives are intersecting with technology; it is literally woven into almost every aspect of our life.
We do not have to look any further than in the fitness industry as we see new concepts introduced at a rapid pace. 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 that is a one-stop shop for all business processes, including member management, procurement, equipment, facilities and, of course, technology management.
Critical to fitness groups scaling is adopting 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 that is collected in the process. The ROI on the predictive business intelligence gathered of member activity allows for 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 the data produced by integrated devices, such as Wi-Fi.
Digital content, interactive/virtual group classes and real-time health analysis have new membership soaring at a record pace across the industry. Although these things are attractive to the members, it has created a demand for strong technology partners on the backend. The amount of bandwidth required now to run a basic gym is also at an all-time high. Understanding how to make all these things work together can be daunting.
2020 should prove to be an interesting year regarding the adoption of disruptive club 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 that your 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 a customer’s financial data.
Finding a technology partner that can work side by side and look ahead and around corners is tantamount 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. We are all racing to the moon. You don’t have to be first, but you sure don’t want to be last.
Shannon Anderson is the president of global client engagement for CieloIT and sits on the board of directors for Cielo Global Holdings. Anderson is a dynamic management professional with 20 years of experience. He received his B.S. in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in kinesiology and has an M.Ed. in educational leadership and administration. CieloIT is a revolutionary company that helps multi-unit business owners efficiently address everyday operational, facilities management and technology issues with the use of leading technologies through its award-winning CieloCare program. For more information, please contact [email protected] or call (806) 410-1302.