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health & technology


BODYBOOK www.bodybook.com


What is it? A website and online community aimed at boosting physical activity among the sedentary population. After signing up, players take part in free, one-off fi tness challenges on their own or with friends – running a set distance, for example, or completing a set number of workouts/sports sessions. Creators such as health clubs, sports centres and other fi tness professionals pay a monthly fee to set challenges with a view to increasing client engagement and attendance, while charities are also invited to set fundraising challenges which supporters pay to take part in.


Key features? The site has a strong social element: players can play against the clock or compete with friends, while a direct interface with Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube allows them to share their achievements in a variety of ways. Each time a player completes a challenge they receive a virtual sticker for their online stickerbook and their name is added to the BodyBook leaderboard. Players and creators can also add their own ‘FitRewards’ as an additional incentive.


How does it make money? Commercial creators pay a monthly fee; charities pay a small percentage of donations as per other well-known fundraising websites; players pay


for custom features not included in the free service; and affi liates, such as Amazon.co.uk and adventure travel companies, pay for links. Moving forward, the company is also looking for compatible brands to supply rewards.


Where is it available? All over the world (but only in English).


How successful is it? BodyBook is currently in the Alpha phase of its release, aimed at testing the system’s useability and gameplay with a limited number of users. The company is now looking for health clubs to trial the challenge creation element of the concept.


How can health clubs benefi t? As creators, operators can use BodyBook to increase engagement among members and to reach out to new ones through the site’s social elements.


FITBUG’S GAMES ENGINE www.fitbug.com


What is it? Fitbug is an online health and wellbeing coach that allows people to monitor their daily activity using tracking devices to count steps, calories burned and other metrics. Data can be accessed and updated via the fi tbug.com website or a new smartphone app. The system includes a competitive element called Fantasy Footfall, which pits individuals or teams against each other in virtual walking/running challenges. This year, the company has expanded the concept to create a new ‘games engine’, including a library of virtual routes from the Great Wall of China to Route 66.


Key features? As players progress along a route, they can ‘visit’ local hotspots, learning about the area, accessing local recipes and picking up a variety of wellness tips. The site also includes leaderboards, a Chatterbox feature enabling players to engage in banter with each other, and a pacer tool which shows how much ground users need to cover each day to complete the


Fitbug users are able to sign up to a fl exible monthly payment plan


game on time. Rewards can also be offered for an extra incentive.


How does it make money? Direct from consumers, who can choose from either a fl exible monthly payment plan or an annual contract; from companies, who pay Fitbug to deliver corporate wellness programmes and team challenges; and from health club partners such as Holmes Place.


Where is it available? The games engine and new app are currently available in the UK and US and will launch in South Africa this year.


How successful is it? Fitbug works with some of the world’s largest blue-chip employers, health insurers and incentives companies in both the UK and the US.


How can health clubs benefi t? According to CEO Paul Landau, Fitbug enables operators to keep fi tness at the foreground of their clients’ minds at all times, while inter- or intra-club challenges are a great way to build community spirit and inspire loyalty. It can also help operators provide a new type of membership for those not attracted to the traditional gym-based model.


52 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


october 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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