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HID Global
HID Global
HID Global
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

Fit Tech People: Markos Kern

Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way. Imagine shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 1
Markos Kern believes gamification is the key to bringing people back to exercise
Markos Kern believes gamification is the key to bringing people back to exercise
If you want to change old, rigid structures, you need to have the balls to disrupt from the ground up!

What is Fun With Balls?
We’re a startup bringing new forms of exercise and sport to the market. Our systems merge real sports with gaming to create completely new experiences – you’re playing games while having a proper workout.

Imagine it like shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters. Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way.

How did you come up with the concept?
We all struggle with the motivation and discipline to be active but it’s incredibly easy to get lost in gaming for hours. So we thought we’d create a new mix of these two worlds to make society more active while having loads of fun. Participation is going down in a lot of sports and many locations are used very little, so our solution hits just the right spot.

Tell us more about your products
We started with interactiveSQUASH – we’re upgrading more and more squash courts around the globe and the numbers show a drastic improvement in play time and revenues for our operators, with some centres even breaking the 10 hour per day barrier for months.

With our latest product – MultiBall – we now also offer a simpler system for any kind of wall in schools, gyms and even hotels and offices.

All our products are very simple to use, they offer a multitude of apps and games and are operated by a simple touch of the wall. We use our own patented sensor system, which detects any object in an instant without cameras. The systems are online 24/7 and are built to last even in the toughest school environments to ensure hours of uninterrupted fun.

Why should the fitness industry embrace tech?
We’ve never lived in a time where things are changing as rapidly as they are now, and technology will only evolve faster in the future. Normal sports participation is declining rapidly because other things are becoming more and more interesting, especially for younger generations.

It’s very simple to see, if we don’t embrace this change and find ways for exercise and sport to stay relevant in a digital age, then our future as a species looks very grim.

How can tech be used to attract less active people to fitness?
A recent WHO report found that 28 per cent of adults are not meeting the minimum requirements for physical activity each week. In adolescents, this is 80 per cent. It’s fair to say that we are already in the midst of a real crisis here and the way we consume digital media is largely to blame for that.

But instead of complaining that “kids should go out and play more”, we have to understand what this change in preference really means and how it can be used to our advantage. We know people love games and get lost in them, so let them sweat while doing so.

Fun With Balls is a great business name! Would you say fun is the most important aspect of fitness/sport?
Fun definitely is the main aspect and we tend to forget that’s why sports started in the first place. With all the competition, federations and rules, it’s sometimes good to focus on what’s at the core of sports and fitness if you want to attract the masses.

Also, if you’re looking at changing these old and rigid structures, you really need to have the balls to disrupt these from the ground up!

What plans do you have for the business?
We’re growing rapidly and have big plans. Building our infrastructure more and launching new features is the main mission right now. All signs have been super positive already, but now we have to educate the world on how our systems, especially MultiBall, can be used in so many different ways.

We’re already working with some major brands to create meaningful activation campaigns for sports and we just started on-boarding our first third party developers before launching our App Store, which can then be used on all our systems. We have some more tricks up our sleeves, coming soon.

How do you foresee technology use in the fitness industry progressing over time?
I think technology is still in its very early days in this regard. We have a lot of gimmicks around that don’t really create real change or benefits, and it will be very interesting to see how meaningful tech can change that.

In the end, technology will enable us to create experiences and forms of sports and exercise that most of us can’t even imagine today. Meanwhile, the technology itself will become less and less noticeable, compared to the way it’s designed and operated today.

Anything else we should know?
What we’re building is a completely new category. One of the main elements is education of the existing industry to show the immense potential of this new trend and we very much encourage everybody to be open and look at this change as a great chance to revive and reinvent their business models.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
MultiBall can go on any wall
MultiBall can go on any wall
 Interactive SQUASH is increasing play time.
Interactive SQUASH is increasing play time.
Kern says we need to find ways to keep exercise relevant in this digital age
Kern says we need to find ways to keep exercise relevant in this digital age
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/320079_29073.jpg
The founder and CEO of Fun With Balls on keeping people addicted to fitness
Markos Kern, Fun With Balls,Exercise, gaming, fitness, technology
HCM magazine
High quality user experience and good value for the operator. This is the winning formula behind an expanding Physical Company product range, says James Anderson
HCM magazine
This was a year when research helped transformed the gym sector into a serious political force. Two pieces of work stand out in terms of timely impact
HCM magazine
How Virtuagym and Thebodycontent created an ecosystem of fitness within a small community
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym introduced live and on-demand functionality to Mywellness in July. Here we find out more about operators who have adopted this solution
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Supplier showcase
Bulmershe Leisure Centre, run by Places Leisure, is providing its community with state-of-the-art fitness machines from Octane Fitness
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HCM People
Having someone just feeling comfortable walking into the gym is important
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Andy Hall, COO of data and tech solutions brand, Volution, looks at the trends we can expect to see emerging in the global fitness market in 2021
HCM Magazine
Research
Regular sessions of new-generation yoga can help tackle the lockdown blues, increase sleep quality and boost mental health
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Ruskin Fitness Club has transformed its gym in partnership with Technogym, adding the new Excite Live line, as well as dedicated workout zones
HCM Magazine
Butt, bottom, booty, bum – whatever you call it, working the backside is a vital part of the balance, power and wellbeing equation and has been ignored for too long, as Tom Tawell reports
HCM Magazine
Latest News
Fitness instructors, personal trainers, coaches and other self-employed physical activity workers in Wales are being ...
Latest News
HCM editor, Liz Terry, has launched a Parliamentary Petition calling for gyms to be in ...
Latest News
The failure to tackle the UK's obesity crisis is down to successive governments being guilty ...
Latest News
Les Mills has launched a new digital content solution to support health and fitness operators ...
Latest News
Gymbox has entered the hospitality space with the signing of a deal to deliver in-room ...
Latest News
Nuffield Health has launched a series of free, online classes focused on emotional wellbeing. The ...
Latest News
Resistance training is just as beneficial for men and women over the age of 50, ...
Latest News
Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities ...
FREE WEBINAR
promotion
This free webinar on 26 January will see our panellists reflect on the changes to work in 2020, and their priorities for 2021.
Opinion: 2021 is the year to prioritise global culture
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Core Health & Fitness announces partnership with Énergie Fitness Iberia
Core Health & Fitness is proud to have signed an exclusive supplier agreement for the roll- out of all projected clubs with Énergie Fitness Iberia over the next seven years.
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
At Matrix Fitness, our goal is to make innovative commercial fitness equipment that stands out ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space have over 25 years of experience in the UK leisure and fitness industry, ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Powering through
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, 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
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Fit Tech People: Markos Kern

Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way. Imagine shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 1
Markos Kern believes gamification is the key to bringing people back to exercise
Markos Kern believes gamification is the key to bringing people back to exercise
If you want to change old, rigid structures, you need to have the balls to disrupt from the ground up!

What is Fun With Balls?
We’re a startup bringing new forms of exercise and sport to the market. Our systems merge real sports with gaming to create completely new experiences – you’re playing games while having a proper workout.

Imagine it like shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters. Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way.

How did you come up with the concept?
We all struggle with the motivation and discipline to be active but it’s incredibly easy to get lost in gaming for hours. So we thought we’d create a new mix of these two worlds to make society more active while having loads of fun. Participation is going down in a lot of sports and many locations are used very little, so our solution hits just the right spot.

Tell us more about your products
We started with interactiveSQUASH – we’re upgrading more and more squash courts around the globe and the numbers show a drastic improvement in play time and revenues for our operators, with some centres even breaking the 10 hour per day barrier for months.

With our latest product – MultiBall – we now also offer a simpler system for any kind of wall in schools, gyms and even hotels and offices.

All our products are very simple to use, they offer a multitude of apps and games and are operated by a simple touch of the wall. We use our own patented sensor system, which detects any object in an instant without cameras. The systems are online 24/7 and are built to last even in the toughest school environments to ensure hours of uninterrupted fun.

Why should the fitness industry embrace tech?
We’ve never lived in a time where things are changing as rapidly as they are now, and technology will only evolve faster in the future. Normal sports participation is declining rapidly because other things are becoming more and more interesting, especially for younger generations.

It’s very simple to see, if we don’t embrace this change and find ways for exercise and sport to stay relevant in a digital age, then our future as a species looks very grim.

How can tech be used to attract less active people to fitness?
A recent WHO report found that 28 per cent of adults are not meeting the minimum requirements for physical activity each week. In adolescents, this is 80 per cent. It’s fair to say that we are already in the midst of a real crisis here and the way we consume digital media is largely to blame for that.

But instead of complaining that “kids should go out and play more”, we have to understand what this change in preference really means and how it can be used to our advantage. We know people love games and get lost in them, so let them sweat while doing so.

Fun With Balls is a great business name! Would you say fun is the most important aspect of fitness/sport?
Fun definitely is the main aspect and we tend to forget that’s why sports started in the first place. With all the competition, federations and rules, it’s sometimes good to focus on what’s at the core of sports and fitness if you want to attract the masses.

Also, if you’re looking at changing these old and rigid structures, you really need to have the balls to disrupt these from the ground up!

What plans do you have for the business?
We’re growing rapidly and have big plans. Building our infrastructure more and launching new features is the main mission right now. All signs have been super positive already, but now we have to educate the world on how our systems, especially MultiBall, can be used in so many different ways.

We’re already working with some major brands to create meaningful activation campaigns for sports and we just started on-boarding our first third party developers before launching our App Store, which can then be used on all our systems. We have some more tricks up our sleeves, coming soon.

How do you foresee technology use in the fitness industry progressing over time?
I think technology is still in its very early days in this regard. We have a lot of gimmicks around that don’t really create real change or benefits, and it will be very interesting to see how meaningful tech can change that.

In the end, technology will enable us to create experiences and forms of sports and exercise that most of us can’t even imagine today. Meanwhile, the technology itself will become less and less noticeable, compared to the way it’s designed and operated today.

Anything else we should know?
What we’re building is a completely new category. One of the main elements is education of the existing industry to show the immense potential of this new trend and we very much encourage everybody to be open and look at this change as a great chance to revive and reinvent their business models.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
MultiBall can go on any wall
MultiBall can go on any wall
 Interactive SQUASH is increasing play time.
Interactive SQUASH is increasing play time.
Kern says we need to find ways to keep exercise relevant in this digital age
Kern says we need to find ways to keep exercise relevant in this digital age
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/320079_29073.jpg
The founder and CEO of Fun With Balls on keeping people addicted to fitness
Markos Kern, Fun With Balls,Exercise, gaming, fitness, technology
Latest News
Fitness instructors, personal trainers, coaches and other self-employed physical activity workers in Wales are being ...
Latest News
HCM editor, Liz Terry, has launched a Parliamentary Petition calling for gyms to be in ...
Latest News
The failure to tackle the UK's obesity crisis is down to successive governments being guilty ...
Latest News
Les Mills has launched a new digital content solution to support health and fitness operators ...
Latest News
Gymbox has entered the hospitality space with the signing of a deal to deliver in-room ...
Latest News
Nuffield Health has launched a series of free, online classes focused on emotional wellbeing. The ...
Latest News
Resistance training is just as beneficial for men and women over the age of 50, ...
Latest News
Fitness, sport and leisure sector professionals who have continued to deliver services to their communities ...
Latest News
A national survey has launched to chart the mental health of the fitness and physical ...
Latest News
One of England's highest ranking police officers has called on government ministers to clearly define ...
Latest News
Virtuagym, a leading provider of fitness technology for gyms and trainers, has announced the launch ...
FREE WEBINAR
promotion
This free webinar on 26 January will see our panellists reflect on the changes to work in 2020, and their priorities for 2021.
Opinion: 2021 is the year to prioritise global culture
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Core Health & Fitness announces partnership with Énergie Fitness Iberia
Core Health & Fitness is proud to have signed an exclusive supplier agreement for the roll- out of all projected clubs with Énergie Fitness Iberia over the next seven years.
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
At Matrix Fitness, our goal is to make innovative commercial fitness equipment that stands out ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space have over 25 years of experience in the UK leisure and fitness industry, ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Powering through
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, 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
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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