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(Editors' Note: This article is part of Club Industry's report, "Technology's Role in the Future of the Fitness Industry," which can be downloaded for free by going here.)
You may not see it yet, but with each passing year, artificial intelligence (AI) assimilates deeper into the world’s business, medical and lifestyle habits without mass consumers or customers even realizing the depth of the changes.
One of the most intuitive ways that AI is taking over businesses and the fitness industry in particular is a behavioral algorithm that can track (and even forecast) health behaviors and repetitive exercise patterns. Artificial intelligence can help consumers become smarter and healthier using these other smart applications, too:
- Artificial intelligence-based mobile trainers or coaches to help athletes improve skills and boost performance
- A waterproof wristband that monitors an exerciser’s real-time biometrics and caloric expenditure
- Wearable watches that monitor uncommon sleep patterns and test your resting metabolic rate
- Smart furniture that intuitively adjusts to your physical positioning and anatomy throughout the day
- An intelligence-based personal assistant within new smart running shoes to measure your stride length and speed
Improve Reliability and Steady Output
Any company with multi-platform channels or an active e-commerce website can save significant time and generate additional revenue by exploring concepts in robotics, chatbots and AI. According to Hubspot and OC&C Strategy:
- One in four shoppers used some form of AI voice assistants in their holiday shopping during the 2017 season
- Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the United States in 2017
- Voice commerce will rise to $40 billion in the United States by the end of 2022
Today, most tasks are done by the robots popping up in the corner of your computer screen, known as “chatbots.” They are the latest trend in AI for marketing and business opportunities. They focus on lower-level repetitive tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, scheduling calendar invitations and even handling guest pass requests for your fitness center.
Tomorrow’s AI will entail more humanistic conversations and communications. It will integrate into Google Home and Mini, Alexa, Cortana and most voice recognition devices. According to research:
- Nearly 50 percent of people are now using voice search when researching products, according to Social Media Today
- There will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the United States by 2020, Activate estimates
- About 30 percent of searches will be done without a screen by 2020, according to Mediapos
- Fifty percent of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, according to comScore
AI can already gather intelligence on customer needs, engagements and emotions in a single click. Sensing and processing emotion is not far off, and recent chatbots can initiate more complex tasks such as booking personal training appointments or serving as the first screener (or gate keeper) for new patients’ medical records.
Chatbots 24/7 Customer Service
Chatbots can automatically answer your callers’ questions or direct your prospects to the next step of your sales funnel, which can take a lot of weight off your customer support system. Call center tasks will be more efficient and productive, allowing human operators to be more valuable. Seventy-five percent of enterprises using AI and machine learning enhanced customer satisfaction by more than 10 percent.
Internal departments (of people) are set up to deal with humanistic complex issues, such as processing sensitive personal information data. And there’s the rub: your AI network is only as good as the people who creatively program and construct them – so losing high-quality jobs to chatbots any time soon is unlikely. But check back same time next year, and we’ll talk.
Tim Sebold is chief innovator and vice president of sales and marketing at soOlis. As founder of soOlis, Sebold has worked and lived in the fitness industry for 30 years. He started by selling gym memberships, morphed into selling fitness equipment, and now heads the sales and marketing teams at soOlis while developing better ways to assist clients and marketing prospects. For soOlis customers and beyond, Sebold has become the thought leader in incorporating artificial intelligence into the health and fitness business and integrating it into more traditional marketing services. soOlis serves hundreds of clients and customers in the fitness industry with highly customized marketing and social media strategies. Email soOlis at [email protected] or call to discover how AI enhances your sales and marketing channels.