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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Talking point: Artificial intelligence

When you hear the words ‘artificial intelligence’, do you think of talking computers and helpful androids? Think again. We find out how AI can be used in fitness

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
Minton says virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa know nothing about health clubs, gyms or leisure centres / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Minton says virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa know nothing about health clubs, gyms or leisure centres / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The AI revolution is ramping up across many industries, although not quite in the way futurists predicted.

Rather than machines that emulate the human mind, the majority of today’s AI technologies consist of sophisticated algorithms that analyse data rapidly to carry out specific tasks. Through machine learning, they can adapt to new situations as they take in more data, making them far more flexible than the more rigid, static programmes of the past.

Our experts explain how AI can be used across the fitness industry, why we should embrace it and the benefits it can bring.

David Minton, Director, LeisureDB
David Minton

Ground-breaking technology such as AI and Machine Learning is way ahead of fitness industry practices, desires and dreams. The main reason being that many fitness sites currently lack the granular data and infrastructure necessary to obtain real AI.

This means our industry is looking through the rear-view mirror at where it’s been, not where it’s going. This is of no use to the consumer and limited use to the operator.

Data remains the industry’s most underutilised asset, yet it’s the foundational element that makes AI so powerful. Unstructured data is difficult to use, which is probably why so few techies develop for fitness compared to other industries.

A lack of granular data has held back Reserve with Google, for example, where the ‘leisure’ market – hotels, restaurants, cinema, beauty and even hair salons – have developed the most integrations so far.

"In 2005 I wrote, ‘if we worked in the pornographic industry, we’d know what a member is, but because we work in the fitness industry, there’s no hard rule, so to speak’ "

My grandchildren love talking to Alexa and Siri, the always-ready, connected, virtual assistants. Yet these ten-year-old twins soon discovered the virtual assistants know nothing about the sports clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools they use.

Back in 2005 I wrote, “if we worked in the pornographic industry, we would all know what a member is, but because we work in the fitness industry there’s no hard rule to follow, so to speak”. For AI to work, there needs to be API access to structured, live granular data. The question of data integrity must be addressed by the industry and it must be totally consumer-focused if we are to take advantage of what AI has to offer.

Bryan O’Rourke
President, The Fitness Industry Technology Council
Bryan O’Rourke

In fitness, AI continues to have the potential to enhance efficiency and improve revenues. Chatbots are increasingly being deployed to engage and simulate personalised human interactions. Fitness apps deploy personalised solutions relying on AI tech as well.

However, the adoption of these tools is not robust at this point and it will be some years before the industry benefits from both machine learning and AI. The reason for this is that most club operators do not have a single source of reliable data, most have not made great strides in executing a digital transformation, and, finally, most do not have a true AI strategy.

To take advantage of AI’s enormous potential, organisations have a long way to go in developing the core practices that enable them to realise that potential value at scale. Most fitness chain operators have not mapped out where, across the organisation, all potential AI opportunities lie, as they have no strategy. Many have not made significant progress on their digital transformation, and do not have single sources of data to enable the adoption of AI at this point.

Until these issues are dealt with, the adoption of AI capabilities will be limited.

Shai Neiger, CEO, CoachAi
Shai Neiger

There’s a lot of buzz about AI – computer programmes designed to mimic or simulate human intelligence.

The concept has been around since the 1950s, but it’s only in the last decade that technology has advanced enough for AI to become a viable tool for use in business.

AI adapts its own design in response to insights derived from real-world data. It also helps us make sense of large quantities of data, to detect patterns, and make decisions based on insight.

It’s one of the tools we use at CoachAi to understand and solve the challenge of behavioural change; which factors influence whether someone will create a lifelong exercise habit or fizzle out after three weeks? When and how should we intervene along the course of their journey? Should we change our approach based on where they live? Whether they’re male or female? Aged 19 or 56?

"AI has the capacity to act autonomously and to adapt over time to reach new heights of performance"

AI is in the spotlight because it represents a new era of efficiency. Unlike the previous generation of technology, which requires constant dashboard monitoring and intervention on the part of operators, AI has the capacity to act autonomously and to adapt over time to reach new heights of performance. As more and more health club operators implement AI solutions, they’ll enjoy reduced staffing and operational costs, while offering smart, personalised member experiences.

In the future, this will become the health and fitness industry standard, even for large-scale operators.

Ian Mullane
Founder and CEO of KeepMe
Ian Mullane

Some organisations within the UK are more hesitant to adopt new technology than our friends across the pond or in Asia, and AI is no exception.

This could be due to a lack of understanding, or a belief that it’s complicated, but the potential benefits for health and fitness operators are huge when it comes to member retention.

AI is not a solution to the challenge of low retention rates, but it can provide operators with a useful level of insight to show where to take action and equip them with the tools to do so at scale.

Right now, many operators don’t have accurate insights into which members are likely to leave and need this, along with a time window to change the outcome. AI can do this at the member level and in doing so, open up a new world of understanding on what drives attrition. Is there a higher risk with a particular membership type, gender or age? Do members that attend a specific group exercise class present less risk than those that don’t, for example?

All of these and more pieces of knowledge are available via AI to help define what actions should be taken.

"AI is not a solution to the challenge of low retention rates, but it can provide operators with a useful level of insight to show where to take action and then equip them with the tools to do so at scale"

Introducing an AI tool enhances the human resources you have, allowing them to target their member interactions to where it will have the most impact.

You know the value that personal interaction plays in retention, but having a worthwhile engagement with every member is not possible. With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact, ensuring that however many engagements you have, they will have been with the most appropriate people.

You’re sitting on gold in the form of data, and AI could unlock its secrets. Many European and US operators have already realised this and are reaping the rewards of deployment with impressive increases in retention and operational efficiency.

I hope UK health and fitness operators will quickly see the potential, so we can start to see the necessary improvement in member retention so often desire.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/206203_802426.jpg
The artificial intelligence revolution is ramping up across many industries. Our experts discuss how the fitness industry can best utilise these new technologies...
David Minton, Bryan O'Rourke, Shai Neiger, CoachAI, KeepMe, Ian Mullane,Artificial Intelligence, AI, machine learning,
People
HCM people

Dan Bond

Owner, CrossFit Fort Ashton
We’d explained leading up to the lockdown that if everyone decided to freeze or cancel, then there would be a possibility of not having a gym to come back to
People
During lockdown, 40% of all spend on live streamed and pre-recorded workouts went to businesses those individuals had never physically visited
People
HCM people

Dave Courteen

MD and co-founder of Mosaic Spa and Health Clubs
I set myself the goal that if I found someone famous to write the foreword and a publisher, then I would write the book
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As Technogym launches its new virtual and on-demand services, Francesco Arlotti, head of digital solutions, shares his thoughts with HCM
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BMF, the outdoor fitness franchise company co-owned by Bear Grylls, is launching a £1m initiative designed to offer financial support to PTs and exercise professionals in getting back to work after the lockdown
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Balance training is set to become a major fitness trend, with exercisers increasingly appreciating the benefits of having a strong core and good balance, particularly as they age. Lauren Health-Jones rounds up the latest product releases
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As staff and members prepare to return to the gym, Dr Dane Vishnubala gives advice to operators on gearing up to offer them mental health support
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Rainer Schaller, the founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, has added iconic franchised chain Gold's ...
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A set of posters created by a fitness studio manager, mimicking the government's COVID-19 NHS ...
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In a boost to the gym and physical activity sector, the UK's deputy chief medical ...
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Following its announcement that grassroots sport could restart on 11 July and that gyms and ...
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The UK's fitness industry can finally get back to business on Saturday 25 July, following ...
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Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
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Fitness expert and television host, Jessie Pavelka has collaborated with Fisikal, experts in digital management solutions, to create the new JP4 app, a premium 12-week personal health and fitness transformation programme that takes the user on a journey of change through four key elements of health.
Video Gallery
BMF with Bear Grylls - Mission to reboot the fitness industry
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BMF with Bear Grylls has put up a £1m fund to get personal trainers, fitness instructors and class instructors back to work and earning money. Read more
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Through our Life Fitness Solutions Partners, we can deliver design and build services, finance solutions, ...
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TRX provides world-class functional training by offering quality equipment, effective workouts and world-class education capable ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
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Derby City Council
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
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22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
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27-28 Nov 2020
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23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
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03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
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03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Talking point: Artificial intelligence

When you hear the words ‘artificial intelligence’, do you think of talking computers and helpful androids? Think again. We find out how AI can be used in fitness

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
Minton says virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa know nothing about health clubs, gyms or leisure centres / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Minton says virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa know nothing about health clubs, gyms or leisure centres / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

The AI revolution is ramping up across many industries, although not quite in the way futurists predicted.

Rather than machines that emulate the human mind, the majority of today’s AI technologies consist of sophisticated algorithms that analyse data rapidly to carry out specific tasks. Through machine learning, they can adapt to new situations as they take in more data, making them far more flexible than the more rigid, static programmes of the past.

Our experts explain how AI can be used across the fitness industry, why we should embrace it and the benefits it can bring.

David Minton, Director, LeisureDB
David Minton

Ground-breaking technology such as AI and Machine Learning is way ahead of fitness industry practices, desires and dreams. The main reason being that many fitness sites currently lack the granular data and infrastructure necessary to obtain real AI.

This means our industry is looking through the rear-view mirror at where it’s been, not where it’s going. This is of no use to the consumer and limited use to the operator.

Data remains the industry’s most underutilised asset, yet it’s the foundational element that makes AI so powerful. Unstructured data is difficult to use, which is probably why so few techies develop for fitness compared to other industries.

A lack of granular data has held back Reserve with Google, for example, where the ‘leisure’ market – hotels, restaurants, cinema, beauty and even hair salons – have developed the most integrations so far.

"In 2005 I wrote, ‘if we worked in the pornographic industry, we’d know what a member is, but because we work in the fitness industry, there’s no hard rule, so to speak’ "

My grandchildren love talking to Alexa and Siri, the always-ready, connected, virtual assistants. Yet these ten-year-old twins soon discovered the virtual assistants know nothing about the sports clubs, leisure centres and swimming pools they use.

Back in 2005 I wrote, “if we worked in the pornographic industry, we would all know what a member is, but because we work in the fitness industry there’s no hard rule to follow, so to speak”. For AI to work, there needs to be API access to structured, live granular data. The question of data integrity must be addressed by the industry and it must be totally consumer-focused if we are to take advantage of what AI has to offer.

Bryan O’Rourke
President, The Fitness Industry Technology Council
Bryan O’Rourke

In fitness, AI continues to have the potential to enhance efficiency and improve revenues. Chatbots are increasingly being deployed to engage and simulate personalised human interactions. Fitness apps deploy personalised solutions relying on AI tech as well.

However, the adoption of these tools is not robust at this point and it will be some years before the industry benefits from both machine learning and AI. The reason for this is that most club operators do not have a single source of reliable data, most have not made great strides in executing a digital transformation, and, finally, most do not have a true AI strategy.

To take advantage of AI’s enormous potential, organisations have a long way to go in developing the core practices that enable them to realise that potential value at scale. Most fitness chain operators have not mapped out where, across the organisation, all potential AI opportunities lie, as they have no strategy. Many have not made significant progress on their digital transformation, and do not have single sources of data to enable the adoption of AI at this point.

Until these issues are dealt with, the adoption of AI capabilities will be limited.

Shai Neiger, CEO, CoachAi
Shai Neiger

There’s a lot of buzz about AI – computer programmes designed to mimic or simulate human intelligence.

The concept has been around since the 1950s, but it’s only in the last decade that technology has advanced enough for AI to become a viable tool for use in business.

AI adapts its own design in response to insights derived from real-world data. It also helps us make sense of large quantities of data, to detect patterns, and make decisions based on insight.

It’s one of the tools we use at CoachAi to understand and solve the challenge of behavioural change; which factors influence whether someone will create a lifelong exercise habit or fizzle out after three weeks? When and how should we intervene along the course of their journey? Should we change our approach based on where they live? Whether they’re male or female? Aged 19 or 56?

"AI has the capacity to act autonomously and to adapt over time to reach new heights of performance"

AI is in the spotlight because it represents a new era of efficiency. Unlike the previous generation of technology, which requires constant dashboard monitoring and intervention on the part of operators, AI has the capacity to act autonomously and to adapt over time to reach new heights of performance. As more and more health club operators implement AI solutions, they’ll enjoy reduced staffing and operational costs, while offering smart, personalised member experiences.

In the future, this will become the health and fitness industry standard, even for large-scale operators.

Ian Mullane
Founder and CEO of KeepMe
Ian Mullane

Some organisations within the UK are more hesitant to adopt new technology than our friends across the pond or in Asia, and AI is no exception.

This could be due to a lack of understanding, or a belief that it’s complicated, but the potential benefits for health and fitness operators are huge when it comes to member retention.

AI is not a solution to the challenge of low retention rates, but it can provide operators with a useful level of insight to show where to take action and equip them with the tools to do so at scale.

Right now, many operators don’t have accurate insights into which members are likely to leave and need this, along with a time window to change the outcome. AI can do this at the member level and in doing so, open up a new world of understanding on what drives attrition. Is there a higher risk with a particular membership type, gender or age? Do members that attend a specific group exercise class present less risk than those that don’t, for example?

All of these and more pieces of knowledge are available via AI to help define what actions should be taken.

"AI is not a solution to the challenge of low retention rates, but it can provide operators with a useful level of insight to show where to take action and then equip them with the tools to do so at scale"

Introducing an AI tool enhances the human resources you have, allowing them to target their member interactions to where it will have the most impact.

You know the value that personal interaction plays in retention, but having a worthwhile engagement with every member is not possible. With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact, ensuring that however many engagements you have, they will have been with the most appropriate people.

You’re sitting on gold in the form of data, and AI could unlock its secrets. Many European and US operators have already realised this and are reaping the rewards of deployment with impressive increases in retention and operational efficiency.

I hope UK health and fitness operators will quickly see the potential, so we can start to see the necessary improvement in member retention so often desire.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
With AI, you’re equipped to understand which interactions are likely to have the most impact / PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/206203_802426.jpg
The artificial intelligence revolution is ramping up across many industries. Our experts discuss how the fitness industry can best utilise these new technologies...
David Minton, Bryan O'Rourke, Shai Neiger, CoachAI, KeepMe, Ian Mullane,Artificial Intelligence, AI, machine learning,
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, the founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, has added iconic franchised chain Gold's ...
Latest News
A set of posters created by a fitness studio manager, mimicking the government's COVID-19 NHS ...
Latest News
In a boost to the gym and physical activity sector, the UK's deputy chief medical ...
Latest News
Publicly listed operator, The Gym Group (TGG) says it has retained 80 per cent of ...
Latest News
PureGym's operations in Europe have helped the business through the UK lockdown, according to CEO ...
Latest News
Following its announcement that grassroots sport could restart on 11 July and that gyms and ...
Latest News
Industry body ukactive has launched an Independent Operators' Steering Group, catering for members who run ...
Latest News
The UK's fitness industry can finally get back to business on Saturday 25 July, following ...
Latest News
HCM understands a decision on reopening dates for gyms and also for spas will be ...
Latest News
Interest in gym reopening in England is reaching fever pitch, with an announcement expected any ...
Latest News
Exercising increases levels of a protein hormone secreted by the bones which has a powerful ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Fisikal chosen as tech partner for ‘JP4’; new health app from fitness expert, Jessie Pavelka
Fitness expert and television host, Jessie Pavelka has collaborated with Fisikal, experts in digital management solutions, to create the new JP4 app, a premium 12-week personal health and fitness transformation programme that takes the user on a journey of change through four key elements of health.
Video Gallery
BMF with Bear Grylls - Mission to reboot the fitness industry
British Military Fitness
BMF with Bear Grylls has put up a £1m fund to get personal trainers, fitness instructors and class instructors back to work and earning money. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Life Fitness
Through our Life Fitness Solutions Partners, we can deliver design and build services, finance solutions, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRX Training UK
TRX provides world-class functional training by offering quality equipment, effective workouts and world-class education capable ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
27-30 Oct 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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