Moving around the world for business has it’s advantages and disadvantages. You get to experience different cultures, but often don’t get enough time to see past the typical business hotel. Luckily, when people like Growth Tribe (Or The Next Web) host you in Amsterdam, you get to see everything great about the country.
Living in California has certain tech perks and recently on a business trip I ran across a great one. The San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, California triangle is especially notorious for rolling out new platforms and apps. If you move in these markets, you get to be in the test tube for all things tech innovation. Sometimes this comes with some disappointments (Washio, and the long list of others that lay in the Silicon Valley graveyard), and sometimes we get the best of them.
One of those innovation areas is around chatbots, and the possibilities are endless. I know what you’re thinking. “I remember a year or so ago Facebook told everyone that chatbots would be the future.” But we haven’t heard much about it since then. Or have we?
Chatbots are replacing receipts, concierge, and a myriad of other jobs in related industries. In health and fitness, chatbots mean a futuristic change in the game for the market that could disrupt the traditional “work out in a gym” model in a big way.
Here’s how it worked for me.
A few weeks ago I traveled to San Diego for a business trip. Someone heard I was going and offered me beta access to a fitness chatbot to try out called GoneTraining. The idea is to book a trainer on demand, wherever you are. I agreed, packed my bags, and didn’t’ think much about it until I woke up the next day; outside of my city, and needing some fitness motivation. So I thought I’d give it a shot.
A new trainer that I don’t have to be loyal to, that will push me to reach my fitness goals…sounds good. I opened the chatbot, and ordered up a training session in my area. Everything worked perfectly, no problem.
But this brought me to a larger realization. Think about how this changes your relationship with your gym. I heard someone say recently that they wanted to change trainers at their gym, but didn’t want to have to “break up” with them, and then see them around the same gym afterwards. Embarrassing right?
Chatbots can change that. And there are a few on-demand platforms out there now that let you order an instructor for yoga, cardio, strength training, running, team workouts and more. Getting the trainer crowd on board at scale quickly is a challenge yes, but if the model is flipped, it can be done.
Not just for personal training either. Anything that’s got an instructor and is part of a fitness routine can be plugged into a system. Things like swimming, dancing or personal style advice. We’ve seen it with other industries successfully, and now it seems that it’s the health and fitness’s turn.
Take the massage on demand model. Not too long ago Zeel and Soothe came along and start placing therapists in a contractor category, taking a small amount of the client fee, and letting them make their own schedules. Versus an employee in a 5 star hotel, they make much more money.
Same with trainers at a gym. Take a small amount from each client that books, and leave them with the majority, and just maybe, they’ll stop being so loyal to that giant gym that doesn’t pay them like they’re worth it. It’s not a new model, but it’s being pushed into lots of new categories.
Combined with the innovation of a chatbot that can assess, check, schedule, remind, a converse back and forth with you, this becomes a reliable source of your health and fitness routine. Especially if that platform can look at your schedule and routine and suggest new disciplines based on your needs, yoga today, cardio tomorrow, strength on Friday. All in different cities, with different trainers. Pretty cool. The possibilities are endless. Right now it seems like the major California cities are getting the most action in this new niche, but that may change.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.