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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

New opening: Smart club: B-fit

Armah Sports has revealed the first B_fit health club – a smart club concept that’s gearing up for the Metaverse with AI, VR, Amazon Alexa and the Internet of Things, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit is the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations

Saudi-based Armah Sports has launched B_fit, the first of its three new health club concepts for the Middle East market, which will be rolled out across the region and beyond. The other brands – high-end offering Optimo and budget brand Lift will follow on in 2022.

The first B_fit club is in Jeddah and will operate as a full-service ‘smart club’, featuring a wide range of innovative tech solutions which integrate with a high-end gym offering.

CEO, Fahad Alhagbani tells HCM the company has placed tech at the heart of the B–fit model, saying: “Today we’re half tech company and half fitness company, with the Metaverse on the horizon, there are no limits to the experiences we will be able to create for our members.

“We built the best technology infrastructure before we started opening our new clubs,” he says. “Our main focus has been selecting the best solutions in each area – such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM software, access control, mobile apps, voice communication and so on, and then integrating them together.”

Facilities
Workout facilities at the 3,750sq m B_fit club include a large gym floor with kit by Technogym and Life Fitness, cardio zone, performance cardio zone, personal training hubs, athlete factory area, six exercise studios catering for functional training, spinning, yoga, pilates, HIIT, and boxing.

There’s also a 25m pool, an indoor running track, a large co-working space, innovation lab, smoothy bar and retail area.

The interior design and lighting have been recognised by the lighting industry for excellence and Alhagbani says the fit-out represents the “evolution of fitness in the industry in the region” and something that has been achieved by “working with some of the best interior designers and lighting consultants in the world.”

When it comes to tech, B_fit offers members an array of solutions, starting with access to the club, which is implemented through touchless facial recognition.

B_fit is also the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations, with members being able to book classes and check trainers’ bios and schedules by talking to Alexa.

Other smart tech solutions include the use of VR and AR which – according Alhagbani – creates “an integrated and seamless digital member experience.

“Virtual reality experiences are there for members and visitors to try in our Innovation Lab, where we demonstrate the future trends to educate our young Saudi generation about the future and gamification,” he told HCM. “We’re adopting VR, AR and the Internet of Things as we grow,” he says.

Members’ wristbands are designed to be a lifestyle accessory and enable them to access the club, buy a smoothie or an item from the shop, control their locker, enquire about their locker number – if forgotten – through a locker control panel and get access to classes through check-in portals which are located next to studio doors.

“We’ve created a smart building which runs under the control of a Building Management System through a smart tablet controlled by our club manager,” says Alhagbani, “this controls the lighting, the aircon and many other elements with just one touch.

“We’re in the final stages of having our LEED Certificate issued to confirm our green building rating and we’re running a paperless and single-use plastic-free environment, with all internal communications happening digitally and being connected through the smart platform.

“When we launched Armah Sports Company in 2019 we saw the rapid growth of technology in our lives and embraced it as an essential element of our business model,” says Alhagbani, “we noticed a dramatic shift in the industry as a result of the pandemic, but we didn’t change our strategy, because our concept was already tech- and digitally-enabled and resilient to change.”

Positive feedback
“We’re proud to present our B_fit model as a smart club to the world, a place that represents our knowledge, creativity, passion, dreams, research, ambition and teamwork,” says Alhagbani. “Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the region for the fitness industry – we believe the days of the traditional fitness club are gone, it’s time for the new generation of fitness clubs – the clubs of the future.”

Alhagbani said the company plans to open 11 B_fit smart clubs and three Optimo clubs in the next 18 months, with the first Optimo opening early in 2022.

Optimino will have a hotel vibe, sharing much of the same tech infrastructure as B_FIT, but with interior, facilities and equipment “at another level”.

Armah Sports has also signed a deal to roll out 1Rebel clubs in the Middle East.

• To read HCM’s exclusive interview with Fahad Alhagbani on Armah Sports’ plans, go to: HCMmag.com/alhagbani

"Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the fitness industry" – Fahad Alhagbani, CEO, Armah Sports

VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/333527_706373.jpg
Armah Sports has opened the first of the B_fit chain of health clubs. Utilising AI, VR and the Internet of Things, it’s the first club in the world to be Amazon Alexa-enabled
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features

New opening: Smart club: B-fit

Armah Sports has revealed the first B_fit health club – a smart club concept that’s gearing up for the Metaverse with AI, VR, Amazon Alexa and the Internet of Things, as Tom Walker reports

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 10
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club is close to achieving its LEED sustainability accreditation / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit is the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations

Saudi-based Armah Sports has launched B_fit, the first of its three new health club concepts for the Middle East market, which will be rolled out across the region and beyond. The other brands – high-end offering Optimo and budget brand Lift will follow on in 2022.

The first B_fit club is in Jeddah and will operate as a full-service ‘smart club’, featuring a wide range of innovative tech solutions which integrate with a high-end gym offering.

CEO, Fahad Alhagbani tells HCM the company has placed tech at the heart of the B–fit model, saying: “Today we’re half tech company and half fitness company, with the Metaverse on the horizon, there are no limits to the experiences we will be able to create for our members.

“We built the best technology infrastructure before we started opening our new clubs,” he says. “Our main focus has been selecting the best solutions in each area – such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and CRM software, access control, mobile apps, voice communication and so on, and then integrating them together.”

Facilities
Workout facilities at the 3,750sq m B_fit club include a large gym floor with kit by Technogym and Life Fitness, cardio zone, performance cardio zone, personal training hubs, athlete factory area, six exercise studios catering for functional training, spinning, yoga, pilates, HIIT, and boxing.

There’s also a 25m pool, an indoor running track, a large co-working space, innovation lab, smoothy bar and retail area.

The interior design and lighting have been recognised by the lighting industry for excellence and Alhagbani says the fit-out represents the “evolution of fitness in the industry in the region” and something that has been achieved by “working with some of the best interior designers and lighting consultants in the world.”

When it comes to tech, B_fit offers members an array of solutions, starting with access to the club, which is implemented through touchless facial recognition.

B_fit is also the first health club in the world to utilise Amazon Alexa technology in its operations, with members being able to book classes and check trainers’ bios and schedules by talking to Alexa.

Other smart tech solutions include the use of VR and AR which – according Alhagbani – creates “an integrated and seamless digital member experience.

“Virtual reality experiences are there for members and visitors to try in our Innovation Lab, where we demonstrate the future trends to educate our young Saudi generation about the future and gamification,” he told HCM. “We’re adopting VR, AR and the Internet of Things as we grow,” he says.

Members’ wristbands are designed to be a lifestyle accessory and enable them to access the club, buy a smoothie or an item from the shop, control their locker, enquire about their locker number – if forgotten – through a locker control panel and get access to classes through check-in portals which are located next to studio doors.

“We’ve created a smart building which runs under the control of a Building Management System through a smart tablet controlled by our club manager,” says Alhagbani, “this controls the lighting, the aircon and many other elements with just one touch.

“We’re in the final stages of having our LEED Certificate issued to confirm our green building rating and we’re running a paperless and single-use plastic-free environment, with all internal communications happening digitally and being connected through the smart platform.

“When we launched Armah Sports Company in 2019 we saw the rapid growth of technology in our lives and embraced it as an essential element of our business model,” says Alhagbani, “we noticed a dramatic shift in the industry as a result of the pandemic, but we didn’t change our strategy, because our concept was already tech- and digitally-enabled and resilient to change.”

Positive feedback
“We’re proud to present our B_fit model as a smart club to the world, a place that represents our knowledge, creativity, passion, dreams, research, ambition and teamwork,” says Alhagbani. “Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the region for the fitness industry – we believe the days of the traditional fitness club are gone, it’s time for the new generation of fitness clubs – the clubs of the future.”

Alhagbani said the company plans to open 11 B_fit smart clubs and three Optimo clubs in the next 18 months, with the first Optimo opening early in 2022.

Optimino will have a hotel vibe, sharing much of the same tech infrastructure as B_FIT, but with interior, facilities and equipment “at another level”.

Armah Sports has also signed a deal to roll out 1Rebel clubs in the Middle East.

• To read HCM’s exclusive interview with Fahad Alhagbani on Armah Sports’ plans, go to: HCMmag.com/alhagbani

"Our mission is to make Saudi a hub for innovation in the fitness industry" – Fahad Alhagbani, CEO, Armah Sports

VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
VR, AR and gamification will play a key role in the new facility / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Club access is via touchless facial recognition / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club offers an indoor running track and six exercise studios / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The club will run a single-use plastic-free environment / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
B_fit has studios for functional, cycle, yoga, pilates, HIIT and boxing / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
Equipment supplies to B_fit include Technogym / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
The brand partnered with leading interior designers for the fit-out / photo: B_fit Armah Sports
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/333527_706373.jpg
Armah Sports has opened the first of the B_fit chain of health clubs. Utilising AI, VR and the Internet of Things, it’s the first club in the world to be Amazon Alexa-enabled
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At-home fitness brand NordicTrack from iFIT has launched what it says are the first voice-controlled, ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Connected Health & Fitness Summit scheduled for March 2022
Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation within the fitness industry, and there isn’t a fitness brand or business that hasn’t been forced to adapt or pivot to digital.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Innovative experience TAGactive launched at Everyone Active
Everyone Active opened its first TAGactive Arena at Lammas Leisure Centre on Bank Holiday Monday, January 3.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Double Olympic Champion Rebecca Adlington breaks ground ahead of new Rainham Leisure Centre
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Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Les Mills
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company
Physical Company’s mission statement is ‘First for Fitness Solutions’ – a statement that reflects the ...
Company profiles
Company profile: FunXtion International BV
With our digital member solutions, branded app and branded virtual classes your clients can now ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
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Property & Tenders
Bilborough, Nottingham
Bilborough College
Property & Tenders
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Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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