How Mobile Computing Will Change Everything
The days of desktops, paper and sales teams hidden away in isolation are numbered. A new age of mobile computing will shape business into something more dynamic and resourceful. The proliferation of tablets, smartphones, wearable tech and lightweight apps makes more sense in today's always-on, connected business environment, especially in the fast and fluid world of health and fitness.
By nature, heavy desktop computers, printers and landlines are inefficient and limiting, creating silos and broken connections between staff and customer. An integrated system of mobile hardware, intelligent software and flexible platforms opens new possibilities for revenue growth and customer service.
This new era of computing starts with mobility. Both Apple and IBM recognize this and formed a partnership in July that will supercharge mobile business applications.
"Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO.
In many ways, the consumer is driving mobile computing. Connecting to prospects and members across familiar technology not only accelerates adoption but also offers a self-service environment consumers now expect. We can thank Southwest Airlines and The Home Depot for enduring the growing pains of self-service check-in and checkout. The world is now ready for self-service, and health and fitness is fertile ground for customers working out on tight schedules and multitasking work and family.
The good news is that mobile computing will complement, not replace, existing data management systems. Well-worn applications such as scheduling and member management fit seamlessly into this new IT ecosystem. Even better, as hardware and software develop more synergies, the best applications are yet to come.
How would your facility operate without computers, paper, and sales reps chained to their desks?
Making staff smarter and more mobile, enabling technology to do the heavy lifting applies to the entire club—sales, trainers, managers, members and prospects, and even the parking lot. The endgame is to close more memberships and sell more club products and services.
Imagine a guest who walks into your club and enters data into a kiosk. Immediately, the guest's name appears on a sales rep's tablet. After a tour, and still mobile, the sales rep takes the electronic signature on a membership agreement. The guest receives the agreement and books the first training session, all from a smartphone.
Remember the parking lot? The next day, the new member walks toward the club for the training session. Proximity sends a bar code to the member's phone for automatic check-in. The scheduled trainer's tablet gets notification of the client's arrival. After the workout, the trainer sells the member a full training package. Meanwhile, the member's phone receives notification for a juice bar promotion. The member buys the promo smoothie, signs a POS tablet, swipes payment and is forwarded the receipt. No paper, no fuss and much shorter sales cycles.
By simply walking in the club, the guest ignites a chain reaction void of computers, paper or waiting. Everything is mobile and personalized, driving a system of engagement that complements an existing system of record, or data management software program.
The iPad Is Mobility
Upon introduction in 2010, Apple iPads were viewed as a toy or a neat extra screen for retail consumers. Fast forward to today, and businesses are using iPads to mobilize employees, build targeted apps and connect with new audiences. Smartphone screens are growing larger by the day, taking mobile computing places even tablets cannot go. The International Data Corp. predicts that by 2017, 87 percent of the global smart connected device market will be tablets and smartphones.
After a shaky start, wearable tech is finding its feet. All eyes are on Apple's iWatch, a hotly anticipated answer to mobile fashion and utility. Rumors suggest the iWatch will include a mix of health and fitness sensors, measuring things such as calorie consumption, blood oxygen levels and sleep activity. Indeed, a device destined for gym floors and cardio rooms.
The bottom line? Consumer tech is bleeding into business tech. And with Apple's new partnership with IBM, future mobile computing will include robust data analytics, cloud solutions and deeper domain apps. However, the challenge remains for health and fitness companies migrating from desktops to mobile devices.
Where do tablets and smartphones fit in your club?
- • Point of sale for food and beverage and pro shop
- • Sales staff for reach and instant, paperless contracts
- • Trainers for scheduling and selling training packages
- • Members for convenience and real-time connections
- • Third-party apps consumed with ease and transparency
- • Push notifications for speed and awareness
- • Sharing, sharing and more sharing
APIs Are the Future
Twitter and Google recognized the value of the application programming interface (API) early on. Linking the cloud, social networks and mobile devices, the API is a developer's weapon of choice and the engine behind today's information technology.
As clubs abandon desks and computers, the API helps integrate devices and applications while opening endless opportunities for revenue growth and user experiences. Clubs already are doing cool things with APIs, and the best interfaces support the most popular development platforms—and do not require serious developer chops. In fact, John Deere just released an API. Tractors will not be part of our mobile computing revolution, but if farmers can do this, so can we.
What can APIs do for your club?
- • Create new business channels
- • Tie technology together
- • Align software with strategy
- • Integrate value proposition into application flow
- • Find a creative competitive edge
Innovation breaks things, finding inefficiencies in tired traditions. Let's summarize why mobile computing will change everything for health and fitness:
- • Easy access: download apps from the App store and Google Play, connect with API and interact with existing database
- • Empower end users and encourage sharing, creating instant adoption and exponential growth
- • Connect critical applications: customer information, scheduling, classes and programs
- • Extend reach and mobilize sales staff for a new level of engagement
- • Track prospect and member behavior for more targeted promotions and programs
- • Provide instant feedback to sales, management and key back-office functions
The proliferation of tablets, smartphones, wearable tech, and lightweight apps makes more sense in today's always-on, connected business environment, especially in the fast and fluid world of health and fitness.