This year’s massive CES Show in Las Vegas did not disappoint! As the home for everything new and innovative in consumer electronics – the health, wellness and fitness exhibitors continued to expand their footprint in the vast 2.7 million net feet of exhibit space.

Here are a few of the companies and products that are poised to potentially disrupt the current business model for gyms.

One of the biggest names in fitness was front and center in this year’s Fitness and Technology Marketplace. Peloton unveiled its second piece of luxury consumer exercise equipment, The Peloton Tread. Looking to capitalize on the growing success of boutique studios offering treadmill-based fitness classes, The Peloton Tread will offer streamed and on-demand workouts via a 32-inch high-definition touchscreen.

Black Box VR was on the top of my list of products to see at CES. Thanks to Preston Lewis and Chuck Westerberg, I was able to experience first-hand why Black Box VR was named a CES 2018 Innovation Award Honoree. Black Box VR has taken major leaps forward by combining a Virtual Reality workout with an electronically controlled cable system. The equipment and game respond to the user’s individual resistance and intensity needs.

Why should Black Box VR and Virtual Reality be on the radar of every gym owner? Personally, spending 30 minutes on the Stepmill five days a week is great for catching up on the latest series on Netflix. However, it’s still not an immersive enough experience to keep me from looking at the clock. Working out in VR, especially in a game, causes you to focus on the mission at hand and to nearly forget about the time that has elapsed. The other reason, which has yet to be understood, is perceived exertion. To complete the mission, you may have to dig deeper and longer than ever, but VR provides a platform to accomplish this without even realizing just how intense you are exercising. Black Box VR is looking at opening flagship locations in Manhattan and San Francisco, CA in 2018.

More VR products to watch

At first glance, Icaros may look easy, but it’s far more challenging than you might think. Imagine your body in a plank position balanced in the exact center on a ball. Not until you master complete balance and control, utilizing your core and various muscle groups, can you then immerse yourself in the game. Making calculated movements in 360 degrees requires total muscle engagement and concentration. A thrilling workout experience overall. Special thanks to Johannes Scholl for allowing me to fly at CES!

Another exciting VR exercise platform is Voxel from Scale-1 Portal. This plug and play VR workout experience is accomplished without the use of VR goggles. This allows the user to have an immersive experience while still having awareness of their physical surroundings, eliminating the need for a staff member to continually monitor it.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather’s company introduced a virtual reality training program at CES, with Mayweather as your personal virtual boxing coach. Initially, the VR workout will only be available to the gym’s members, but by holiday season 2018, Mayweather plans to offer it to home users as well.

For gyms with a boxing component, Corner unveiled a sensor and app that track individual members improvements in punch rate, speed and power.

Sleep technology had a huge footprint at CES 2018

As the average fitness enthusiast becomes more aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep and recovery, CES this year unveiled a plethora of products to help.

Nightingale is an intriguing product that plugs into your bedroom electrical outlet and generates a “sound blanket” or white noise that masks both indoor and outside noises. The white noise generated from Nightingale was also proven in a Harvard Medical School clinical trial to help patients fall asleep 38% faster. This may also provide a solution for fitness facility owners for their yoga, recovery and relaxation spaces by masking external noise from cardio and weight machines.

Some of the numerous other notable products in sleep technology were: Somnuva an alarm clock that also emits white noise to induce and increase rem sleep, Zeeq a (CES Innovation Award Winner) smart pillow that tracks & analyzes sleep, vibrates to stop snoring and includes 8 built-in speakers to stream music, books or sleep tracks without disturbing your partner. Philips introduced SmartSleep, a headband wearable that is said to track and induce sleep along with Somneo that simulates natural sunrise for a more natural wake-up. Another nightstand light for a natural wake-up is Vobot. Smart Glasses, PEGASI, were introduced with claims to utilize short periods of light therapy to help regulate sleep and reduce jet lag.

Assessment continues to grow with an increased presence at CES

DNA testing is another area seeing a rapid growth of companies offering data that could potentially take personalizing your workout to a whole new level. I was able to catch one of the FitnessTech Summit panels where Avi Lasarow from DNAFit Life Sciences, mentioned how potentially one day we could see cardio programs on equipment, customized by a person’s individual DNA data results. Another DNA company, ORIG3N, took DNA swabs at their booth to check four markers for free… it was able to provide me with some insight of why I was never a sprinter, however, had no problem hiking 12 miles with a 70 lb. rucksack while in the military.

Scales that also offered 3-D body scanning made an appearance at CES. VisbodyFit and ShapeScale both offered options to scan you in photorealistic 3D, to give a visual overview of your progress.

KuaiFit also had a large presence at CES with their smart AI headphones. “Your wearable coach” gives guidance and feedback about your performance, while listening to your favorite music and practicing any sport.

Gym owners and trainers attending CES

CES is open only to individuals affiliated with the consumer technology industry. If you or your facility are moving more into the digital and technology fitness space, and you’re able to get in, there are a few things to keep in-mind. Aside from the sheer overwhelming size of CES, you’ll need to map out ahead of time what areas you’ll want to visit, since they may be on different floors, buildings or even miles apart. You will see products at CES that your members will be wearing and using when they visit your facility. There maybe a few recognizable pieces at the show like a bike or treadmill. However, you’ll need to look a little deeper into the products and companies exhibiting, as it’s their technology that will be utilized in various future platforms. CES is the gathering place for innovative thought leaders, inventors, start-ups, investors and disruptors. With the right insight, CES can provide a window into what might drive the products, trends and future technology that will impact our industry over the years to come.

Article by: David Shaw

David Shaw leverages a background in high-tech, along with 30 years in fitness to provide proven insight for clients on the future of health, wellness and fitness products, trends and facility design. As one of the world’s most connected fitness professionals on LinkedIn, David is a passionate global connector of innovative fitness brands.

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