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Way of the future: The Apple Watch marks an evolution in fitness and activity tracking


DAVID MINTON Director • The Leisure Database Company


“N


ext year the industry is going to have to adapt or lose out. New


technology is making the consumer more powerful and clubs are going to have to react. Innovations like the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6 with iOS 8 – which includes the new Health app – will become the most useful repository for all sorts of health and fitness data, with some collected automatically by the barometer inside the new phones. Harvard has just released a report saying that US waistlines


are getting even bigger. The UK is close behind and the industry needs to do something radical – like offering free PT to help people get results – if it’s to be taken seriously. As the economy picks up, I think the growth of the low-cost


sector will slow. People like to pay for a bit of comfort, luxury and broader facilities, otherwise everyone would stay at budget hotels. Microgyms are adding value to the industry with a good product and these will continue to grow as people value unique experiences. However, the biggest growth will come from the public sector, which is embedded in the community and puts the customer first in a way that private sector clubs cannot. Usage of public sector facilities is going up enormously: the top seven operators had almost 100 million visits last year.


” November/December 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


DAVE STALKER CEO • ukactive


“I


n 2015, wearable technology will get a hot Apple injection, as the


Apple Watch heralds the start of the next evolution in fitness and activity tracking. The major private institutions on which


the industry grew in the 1990s will either have to rediscover a purpose, as we have seen with Fitness First, or drift off into irrelevance. Driven by efficiency drives, enhanced service levels and greater competition, the public sector will continue to thrive and drive growth. The pressure of continuous growth in the low-cost sector will be joined by the imperative to retain, or else implode. Meanwhile the proliferation of specialist microgyms will continue to explode, charging fees previously only dreamt of by mainstream operators. Within the health community, stakeholders will get even harsher in their appraisals of what we offer: show them your evidence or they’ll show you the door, for both leisure and health contracts. Finally, health clubs, leisure centres and activity providers are


now part of a wider ecosystem trying to get the world fit and healthy. Embracing this position, and understanding our role within it, will enable us to dramatically redefine the value and impact of our sector, with a continued growth in our sector’s importance to all stakeholders as a result.


” Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 41


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