Its all about the customer. When industries fail to follow this single principal they can get in big trouble. Think back to Napster and what Sony records could have done. Instead they sued the platform into bankruptcy and later suffered hugely as the idea of digital music platforms, via iTunes, blew their business model apart. Who remembers the old adage, "you can win the battle but lose the war?"
Conversely, when the federal government decided to allow "garbage frequencies" to be used unlicensed, NCR went to its engineers and asked them to create standards. Wi-Fi was originally going to be used by NCR to connect cash registers. The rest is history (see the recap here) as Wi-Fi created a surge of mobile networked devices. Wi-Fi shows that agreeing on a common standard can create a market. This is an important concept for the health club and fitness industry to grasp.
Standards can help grow the pie by enabling more consumer friendly interactions across equipment, lowering investment costs of competing proprietary solutions and driving more innovation. Today in the fitness industry there is only one technology standard, C-Safe, a protocol developed by a group of competitors which has not been updated in nearly 10 years. Since that time smart phones, Wi-Fi connectivity and tracking devices have exploded. Do these devices work with most equipment seamlessly ? No. Can a user easily interact among their tracking devices, smart phones and health club brands and equipment? No. This is a problem and big opportunity. If the health club industry wants to avoid the path the record business has gone down the last decade they best start collaborating around standards.
Creating technology standards is why FIT-C exists and it is the purpose for creating a survey and report on club technology trends. Fit-C is trying to raise awareness regarding the need for these standards. Please take the survey if you are able to and be on the lookout for the report, scheduled to be published in early January 2014. Here is a recent story from IHRSA about the report. Users expect easy to use technology and as an industry we need to provide it to them.
See my interview below with Paul from Dynastream as we discuss Fit-C. Join Fit-C today and become a part of the #FutureOfFitness . By the way, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for your support.
Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .