“The immediate challenge is for operators and vendors to come together to establish a set of standards before outside influences dictate them to our industry,” says Al Noshirvani, the chairman of Motionsoft, Inc., the Rockville, MD-based software provider that is hosting a technology summit next month. The 2018 Motionsoft Technology Summit will take place October 3-5, at the LINE DC Hotel in Washington, D.C. Learn more at the event website.
Apple, Google, or Samsung, for example, could impose standards via such products as the Apple Gym Kit, which allows the Apple Watch to “talk” to exercise equipment. Recently, large tech entities have evidenced a strong interest in the fitness, wellness, and healthcare sectors.
To prevent non-industry sources from dictating club data norms, Noshirvani has been instrumental in establishing the Active Lifestyle Industry Data (ALID) consortium, whose defining goal is to formulate such standards. The group will consist of club executives, technology suppliers, and equipment manufacturers, and will be assisted by IHRSA’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Council.
ALID is organized in the form of six sub-groups: the Road Map, Business Development, Rules and Governance, Manufacturers, Club Operators, and Data Standards working groups.
The Club Operators group, for example, will gather information from operators on standards for member data, equipment usage, exercise activity, and related services. This group is headed by Ray O’Connor, the CEO of the Wisconsin Athletic Club, in Milwaukee, WI, and a member of IHRSA’s board of directors.
Why is the ALID initiative important?
It all comes down to an old axiom: Regulate yourself before someone else regulates you. Doing so maximizes the likelihood that the resulting standards will be clear, uniform, broadly applicable, dependable, and efficient; will safeguard all data; will provide club members with new services and enhance their experience; and will improve operators’ organizational efficiency, saving them time and money, not to mention headaches.
“Outside influences are eager to control how we operate,” warns Rick Caro, the founder and president of Management Vision, Inc., a New York consultancy. “That control often translates into technology solutions that are more expensive for clubs and more burdensome to members. Operators and vendors need to come together to stop big corporations from dictating business terms our industry can’t afford.”