Augmented Reality (AR) for gyms will soon become the norm. Are you prepared for this seismic shift which is sure to shake the fitness industry to its core – or is AR still alien to you?
In this guide to augmented reality for gyms, we’ll discuss:
- AR vs VR – which should you choose and why?
- Why AR makes sense in a post-pandemic economy
- How gyms could use this new technology effectively
- How (and to what degree) AR tech works
- When to expect the coming revolution
VR versus AR: aren’t they both the same?
True, virtual reality and augmented reality create immersive environments for users; but in varying proportions and using different technologies.
- Augmented reality for gyms straddles the actual and virtual world to create dynamic experiences.
- Virtual reality for gyms replaces the world entirely – imposing a fictional environment instead
AR shouldn’t be confused with mixed reality: an emerging extension of the technology that allows real and virtual worlds to interact seamlessly (but this is a long way off happening).
AR for gyms in a post-pandemic economy
The global pandemic forced many smaller gyms to close. Even larger and more established brands struggled and were on the verge of going into administration.
To combat the problem fitness studios ran virtual classes – with users participating in spin classes and more by accessing online classrooms.
The pandemic also gave birth to brands like Peloton, of course. However, fitness firms that are 100% virtual are now struggling in this post-pandemic landscape.
Lesson learnt? Augmented reality for gyms should never completely replace real-world environments. The ability to switch between the two is essential to minimise risk.
AR marketing ideas to grow your fitness business
#1 Regain ‘lost’ customers
Happy customers relocated? Then reconnect with them by offering remote AR-enhanced workouts instead of chalking them up as a loss.
#2 Offer free gym tours
Offer an enhanced tour of your facilities so customers can try before they buy and without having to leave the comfort of their home or office.
#3 Run remote consultations
Using a dedicated headset gym-goers can interact with their favourite personal trainer and without putting themselves in jeopardy (AR is 25% immersive and 75% reality).
The immersive nature of AR means a multitude of fitness activities can be simulated too – meaning participants won’t become jaded by performing the same routine endlessly.
Does AR really work?
Although augmented reality for gyms is nearly here, does it actually deliver?
#1 Easy to use lightweight equipment
AR headsets weigh in at around 80g – which means they won’t add extra weight to already arduous exercise routines.
#2 Lightweight 6 DoF controllers
What on earth does 6 DoF mean? It stands for degrees of freedom – meaning user movement can be accurately tracked in several directions.
#3 Connection speeds need improvement
AR technology works well enough. But 5G connections will need to enable outdoor workouts on the go – like golf or cycling. Watch this space.
#4 Brand leader positions available!
Pioneers are needed to lead the charge and ensure AR reality for gyms becomes, as its name suggests, a reality rather than a pipe dream.
Good news: mobile AR is growing in popularity with investment in the technology expected to grow by an astonishing 42% by 2024.
#5 AR technology is safe
Because augmented reality is 75% real world users are still acutely aware of their surroundings – minimising the chances of injury during participation.
But do customers really want it?
This is the most important question. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how good the tech is. Do people need it and are they likely to use it?
#1 Variety is the spice of life
Augmented reality for gyms opens up a range of activities. Aside from standard fare – such as running or tennis – the technology allows for the creation of new exercises too (levitating yoga anyone?).
#2 Great for burning calories
AR needs to be more than just fun. Else it runs the risk of being seen as a gimmick. Fortunately, AR-powered workouts are just as effective at raising heart rates and popping out beads of sweat onto the fabled brow.
#3 Could be a little pricey!
At the moment AR tech is mostly limited to filters available via your smartphone, tablet, or home computer. But emerging peripherals – like Apple Glasses (set to launch in 2023) – are likely to cost in the region of £1700 pounds. Expect this cost to drop over time.
In the meantime…
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