Michael Piermont, FIT-C Board Member

I go to a bunch of industry events every year – like most of us do – but a conference I recently attended surprised me.

The conference was the 3rd annual Motionsoft Technology Summit in Baltimore, MD. I went representing the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C) and, my company EcoFit.

The Technology Summit is a gathering of technology leaders and club operators in the fitness space who come together to discuss technology and business issues facing our industry and to share best practices so that more clubs become aware of, and more engaged in technology solutions gym members and non-members are using to shape their own healthy lifestyles.
As a first-time attendee, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the event wasn’t the typical networking event that starts with questions like “What do you do?” and “How did you get into that?” Blah, blah, blah…

The Motionsoft Technology Summit is different!

You could feel it from the start during the kick-off rooftop cocktail reception overlooking the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore Orioles stadium. We were welcomed by the Summit co-hosts: Al Noshirvani and Todd Tweedy. I felt part of something. And, the best part, people were having fun and, engaging in honest conversations. It was refreshing.

The networking was fantastic.

During the cocktail reception, the attendees were to networking bingo game that industry veteran Rick Caro is credited with creating. As the networking bingo began, we were encouraged to put down our cell phones, relax and get to know each other which was facilitated by bingo squares that included information about attendees like “Find someone who’s been to Madagascar.” It turned out that was Todd. After making my way around the outdoor patio and meeting new friends, I ended up winning a Samsung Gear Fit2 which was a nice surprise (I never win anything).

Amie Boring, BFit; Hooman Fakki

Amie Boring, Senior Manager, Solutions Development, BFit Gyms works to win Networking Bingo.

I loved the energy of 124 people.

The Summit is not a small gathering and yet I felt connected to everyone in the room. I gotta give Motionsoft credit: they’ve created an event that encourages participation. Moderators who walk into the audience to ensure attendees are getting what they need. Senior executives and fitness industry leaders, including Robbie Sprechman, CFO, Retro Fitness and Corey Benish, CIO, Planet Fitness among many others who were approachable and willing to learn about new technology solutions and made it very easy to approach them.

Panelists: Bruce Gardner, IT Director, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd. Adam Zeitsiff, CIO, Gold's Gym Corey Benish, CIO, Planet Fitness Mike Rucker, Vice President of Technology, Active Wellness. Moderator: Rick Caro, President, Management Vision

(L to R) Rick Caro, President, Management Vision; Mike Rucker, Vice President of Technology, Active Wellness; Corey Benish, CIO, Planet Fitness; Bruce Gardner, IT Director, David Lloyd Leisure Ltd. Adam Zeitsiff, CIO, Gold’s Gym.

I took pages of notes.

When was the last time you took pages of notes at any event? I compiled a number of helpful gems I pulled from three keynoters (Samsung, Cigna and IHRSA’s new chairman Rasmus Ingerslev), numerous panelists from inside and outside our industry as well as insights from attendees.

The first session set the tone for the entire Summit.  The CIO Technology Summit Roundtable made up of the Summit’s advisory board and moderated by industry luminary Rick Caro focused on data standards, investment hurdles related to tech innovation projects and eventually turned to security related topics and specifically sharing and protecting club and member data. While this has always been a topic of discussion with the new Iot devices it is critical now given the ease in which clubs can collect data. Based on what I heard from club operators at the Summit, it appears that more club are finally starting to make business decisions based on real metrics.

The Summit covered a plethora of topics.

I stood up and asked “How are we as an industry going to finally bridge the gap between medical and fitness data, and how can we be part of the solution to address obesity in America?” While this wasn’t a core trend the panel was initially addressing, I was pleased that Adam Zeitsiff from Gold’s Gym International and Corey jumped right in to give their view on privacy and how the industry as a whole may address these topics. “It’s something we need to prepare for now because it’s going to take sometime to integrate all this health data,” Corey said. What really surprised me is how engaging panel members were throughout the whole conference.

There was a real sense of community at the Summit like “we are all part of this industry.

As Rasmus Ingerslev, IHRSA’s new chairman delivered the closing Summit keynote, he reminded us that technology can be fun and, is here to stay. He also reminded us everyday’s a new day. Every day is the first day of the rest of our life. Today we get to sit and think about where we are and, where is that? His point hit home: as an industry we are a community and to be successful we all need to come together to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

Rasmus Ingerslev, Chairman, IHRSA; Julia Huggins, President, Mid-Atlantic, Cigna; Jeffrey Cooper, Senior Manager, Business Development, Samsung.

Summit Keynoters: Rasmus Ingerslev, Chairman, IHRSA; Julia Huggins, President, Mid-Atlantic, Cigna; Jeffrey Cooper, Senior Manager, Business Development, Samsung.

My advice.

Club owners and operators looking to adopt new technologies in their business should follow a few simple steps, including:

  • Do your homework.
  • Ask questions.
  • Start small.
  • Tap into the data.

New technologies works much better when you understand why they are being implemented, not how. Change isn’t easy and adopting new technology in your club won’t come without challenges but remember if embraced right, everyone benefits from a business run off real data.

Lastly, think about attending the Motionsoft Technology Summit. It’s an opportunity to be part of a larger community and information sharing that you’re not likely to find at other events.  Don’t wait!  The Summit sells out quickly.

You can start by following Motionsoft on Twitter – @motionsoft and LinkedIn attending their upcoming post-Summit webinars, and downloading presentation decks.

This is an event our industry can be proud of. Congratulations Motionsoft on hosting a successful Technology Summit!

Michael Piermont
FIT-C Board Member