Home Gym – Apple Fitness + is just the beginning of the next wave to disrupt the fitness industry
Yoganotch sensors provide real-time feedback
Count me among them. Whether it’s large gyms with the latest and greatest equipment or small, boutique-like studios – the pandemic has disrupted many people’s fitness routines as our preferred exercise spots have been forced to shut down. While fitness opportunities at home had already grown steadily and Peloton played a key role, COVID has dramatically accelerated the search for home options to keep us in shape. Given that the technological infrastructure required for home fitness has been around for some time, the good news is that many businesses, large and small, have been able to handle the disruption and have both live streaming and app to offer based courses. What seems increasingly likely, however, is that what started out of necessity – a temporary disruption to the fitness category – can permanently change the way and where people exercise. And that would be at home.
This categorical disruption of the industry is not only changing the way people perceive and practice fitness, but it also puts the spotlight on companies vying for the attention of consumers, both existing and emerging.
Newer players include wearable fitness technologies. And yes, most notable among them is Apple Fitness + for Apple Watch wearers, a premium fitness subscription service that offers guided workouts. Apple Fitness + is designed to not only compete with platforms like Peloton, but also with real-world locations, including the live streams from your gym or personal trainers. You can use it to find out when and where you want, monitor your performance and are equipped with a sensor that tracks your training metrics. However, there is one important thing that Apple Fitness + doesn’t do. While it gets you moving and tracks your movements, it does not monitor, correct, or improve your movements, thus promoting the most effective and efficient workout possible.
I had an interesting conversation with the founders of one of the newest entrants in wearable fitness, whose technology does just that. It focuses on how you do what you do. Eszter Ozsvald and Stepan Boltalin are the innovative creators of Yoganotch, a personal yoga assistant that provides audio feedback on your yoga form wherever you practice. Yoganotch uses a special smartphone app and precise, wearable sensors the size of dime, which analyze the position of the body in 3D in real time. The app offers voice feedback generated by the yoga-centric AI (Artificial Intelligence) engine. Yoganotch will literally advise you to “align your hips” when it senses that your Warrior I’s alignment could be improved, almost as if you had an invisible teacher with you on your yoga journey.
Yoganotch works for practitioners of all levels and the feedback is based on safety and maximum effectiveness. “Among the barriers to successful fitness,” said Eszter, “is how you move, be it recreational sports like swimming or tennis or golf or yoga.” In order for yoga to be valuable, it is important to do the poses in the correct form, which will also reduce the chance of getting injured. The problem our technology solves is giving users greater confidence about what they are doing, be it the right way or the wrong way. “
“Thanks to the clinically precise movement analysis technology, Yoganotch can help to strengthen body awareness, ” added Stepan. “Because of the immediacy of the interactivity, it feels like someone is next to you controlling your movements rather than just allowing them to be viewed on a screen. Our technology evaluates your movements and saves them, strengthens muscle memory, speaks to you in a friendly manner and provides positive physical benefits. Most people don’t know how to move. We only do things intuitively with our reflexes. Yoganotch goes a few steps further and gives you real-time feedback in 3D. “
While not a yoga practitioner, Eszter and Stepan have helped me see how this cutting edge technology can have amazing uses for a variety of fitness or exercise programs. The precise motion analysis technology is already used by thousands of researchers, developers, and athletes at top universities and major league teams. Yoganotch is the company’s first consumer application, but it is opening the way for more high-tech fitness products that go beyond simple video streaming and help people access personalized instructions and move with the utmost efficiency. Instead of a one-way experience, technology enables a two-way experience that confirms that not only are you moving, but you are moving correctly.
Fitness is just one of many previous routines disrupted by the pandemic. And as with many of these routines, from school to shopping to the way we work, as I said, a temporary disruption is likely to result in a permanent change in the way we live. COVID has forced us to rethink everyday experiences and possibly do things better.
The companies most likely to succeed in this world of new behaviors are those that recognize and leverage opportunities to transform routine customer experiences in ways that will fuel business growth. In my opinion, a successful break in the experience de facto becomes a new competitive advantage in many categories, including those that help us stay fit and healthy. Namaste.
Home Gym – Apple Fitness + is just the beginning of the next wave to disrupt the fitness industry]