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Wednesday
Jun142017

Fitness Equipment Manufacturers Team with Apple for Gym Connect

Innovations in fitness technology have revolutionized the health club experience, with exercise equipment and wearable fitness trackers getting exponentially smarter. Tech-inclined fitness enthusiasts can now access detailed workout data at their fingertips. The only problem? Metrics on the treadmill and their wrist never quite match up.

That’s where Apple’s Gym Connect comes in. The new feature, which will be available on WatchOS 4 in the fall, aims to solve the data disconnect for Apple Watch users.

Soon, gym-goers will be able to simply sync their Apple Watch to their cardio machine of choice and begin working out. Data gathered on the watch—age, height, weight, heart rate, etc.—and data gathered on the machine—pace, speed, incline, etc.—will automatically be shared, producing the most accurate calories burned counts and other critical metrics. These readings will be displayed in real-time on the equipment console, resulting in the user having one less device to manage.

Ultimately, Gym Connect’s goal is to provide Apple Watch users with a more seamless health club experience, Jay Blahnik, Apple’s director of fitness and health technologies, told IHRSA.

The tech giant announced Gym Connect at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month. During the San Jose, CA, event, Apple detailed its partnership with leading equipment manufacturers—Technogym, Life Fitness, Cybex, Schwinn, Startrac, StairMaster, and more—several of which were represented in the audience.

“We are really proud of the new integrated and innovative experience with Apple Watch and excited to bring this to exercisers around the world,” Technogym Founder and CEO Nerio Alessandri said in a release.

The partnering equipment manufacturers have agreed to bring compatible fitness equipment to market by the time WatchOS 4 is released.

“We’re excited to help bring this groundbreaking innovation to the fitness industry,” Jaime Irick, president of Life Fitness, said in a release. “There are over 700 million workouts per year on our cardio machines across the globe, and we know that exercisers want personalized workouts with easy data tracking. This new capability is just another example of how we’re innovating to deliver exceptional experiences to exercisers.”

The new machines will incorporate Apple’s NFC technology, which will allow Apple Watch users to connect their device with the piece of equipment. This will be the first time Apple has opened the NFC to a feature outside of transportation and Apple Pay, according to Blahnik.

Ending a workout is simple, too. The watch will automatically disconnect from the machine and all data will be stored in their iPhone’s Health app. While the user can choose to share the data with other apps—including the equipment manufacturer’s—no data will be stored on the machine.

Several health club chains—including Equinox, Virgin Active, Goodlife Fitness, and Jetts Fitness—have already agreed to provide Gym Connect machines for members this fall. Blahnik said he expects the number of participating clubs and equipment manufacturers to increase.