In the age of the Internet of Things, where everything from a toaster to a vacuum cleaner is connected to the internet, going to the gym can often feel like a surprisingly disconnected experience. Many workout machines, such as those used for lifting weights, don’t need to be upgraded with the same frequency or as many times as a phone or computer, so their useful lifespan can easily span multiple decades. The drawback to such a lengthy lifetime is that these old machines lack the ability to connect to our internet-enabled devices, making it harder to track and log workouts.
Sony has been working on a “Connected Gym” concept that it hopes will make the gym experience a more connected one. It works by installing a sensor onto a machine, allowing it to then be used to log the machine’s usage. A separate device lets gym-goers pair their phone with the machine via the newly-released Android app (Connected Gym also works on iOS), making it very easy to track reps during a workout.
For gym owners, one of the largest advantages to a system like this is that it allows existing hardware to be fully retrofitted for (presumably) a fraction of the cost it would take to upgrade an entire machine. Sony is also emphasizing how its sensors also track and store machine usage, potentially providing useful insights and analytics on training patterns and utilization through time. To use Connected Gym, gyms pay a monthly subscription fee and aren’t required to pay any upfront costs.
Unfortunately, Connected Gym is still in a commercial trial phase and only available in a few markets, so it might be a while till they show up at your local gym. The program was demoed at the FIBO fitness and bodybuilding trade show last week in Germany, so it’s possible it might become more widespread in the near future. Until then, you’ll probably have to convince your gym to sign up for Connected Gym if you want to try out Sony’s vision for indoor workouts.