If you're in the fitness or health club industry it might be easy to forget about the world of the digital revolution going on outside. This week there are a few reasons you might want to pay closer attention. Yesterday WSJ reporter Ian Sherr had this to say in the article, Cloud Floats Closer To Consumers:
Two technology conferences this week in typically sunny California will focus on bringing the cloud to consumer computers. On Monday, Apple Inc. is expected to use its annual developers gathering in San Francisco to unveil a streaming-music service. The product will likely allow gadget owners to mirror their music libraries at Apple's data centers and access them via the Internet, a paradigm known as cloud computing. The service, which Chief Executive Steve Jobs is expected to unveil with the company's new iCloud Internet services, could eliminate the need for consumers to use up chunks of storage on their iPhones.
Here is a blow by blow of the Apple release of iCloud and its new operating system, among other software improvements. The other conference Sherr refers to is All Things Digital (aka allthingsd). Check out the video content here and see Sherr's overview of the Apple announcements below.
So, what might you ask does this mean for health clubs and the fitness industry in general ? Most experts might not be certain. I propose this will be the affect: more savvy consumers with increasing options for engagement and higher expectations in all categories including fitness and health clubs. Yikes you say ! What has happened to retail and entertainment is going to increasingly happen in fitness and its bricks and mortar delivery system - health clubs. Apples announcements and the allthingsd conference only reinforce these trends.
Welcome to the cloud and these and other revelations in the year to come will only make the health club and fitness industry more innovative and open to opportunities and tremendous risks.
So what do you think of Apple's new iCloud service and software releases ? Have you checked out the allthingsd video content from some of the leaders of the digital revolution ? Please let me, Bryan O'Rourke, know your thoughts.
Pity the poor programmer whose software doesn't automatically sync every digital thing you own across all of your devices instantly. Thanks to Apple, if you're not in the cloud soon, you're buried.
People have been yammering for years about how, eventually, everything is going to have to move to the cloud. And yet, while some consumers have moved in that direction, many have not.
That's about to change. The introduction of Apple’s iCloud will create a tipping point that will have a profound impact on consumer software and services.
Like it or not, where Apple goes, everyone else eventually follows. It happened back in the 1980s when Apple introduced the first home computer with a graphical user interface (GUI). Before that, consumers had to use command lines to interact with their computers. But once Apple introduced the GUI, other computer makers soon followed suit.
It also happened with digital music. Sure, MP3s existed before iTunes. But the end-to-end system soon created a tipping point. And it happened with tablets. The hardware industry had been toying with tablets for over a decade before the iPad. But look at the avalanche of tablets that has since ensued.
And so we at Fast Company expect the same to happen with the cloud. Apple has just introduced an attractive system for a whole range of things consumers care about. Sure, cloud solutions previously existed for some of the things Apple introduced Monday--like documents (Google Docs) and music (Amazon). But it is the comprehensiveness and elegance of the iCloud system that will unleash a tipping point.
Soon users will become used to how much easier their lives become with iCloud. All my stuff is everywhere I want it to be, instantly. I download a song from iTunes, and it’s instantly on all my devices. I put down the book I was reading on my iPad at home, get on the subway, open up my iPhone, and presto, the book is not only on my phone, it opens up to the exact place where I stopped reading on the tablet.
Documents, photos, email, contacts, calendars--users will get used to moving fluidly between all of them on different devices
And as soon as consumers become used to things acting this way, they’ll start actually expecting things to act this way. And when that happens, beware any software company that doesn’t deliver the same experience. In the new world Apple will create, to ask a user to manually sync files between different devices will be the equivalent, back in the '80s, of asking a bunch of home computer users used to interacting with GUI’s, to use command lines instead.
The new will no longer be the cherry on top. It will be the baseline.
Moving to the cloud certainly won’t be easy for software companies. It will involve a lot of hard technical work. Many will have to rip apart their existing programs and completely re-architect them to deliver the new experience. Apple itself, CEO Steve Jobs told developers at the WWDC keynote on Monday, had to rewrite MobileMe, the company’s previous stab at syncing across devices, “from the ground up” to create iCloud.
But as difficult and expensive as that work will be, very soon it won’t be optional. The smart companies will be the ones that start moving in that direction sooner rather than later, whether they’re happy about it or not.