New technologies are an on-going hot trend everywhere and fitness industry does not stay behind. Gyms and health clubs successfully implement many hi-tech solutions in their everyday running. Having management software like Perfect Gym with integrated mobile app and online booking system became a standard. More and more improvements are used in an access control area due to general growing fitness popularity, higher customer frequency and higher effectiveness of a reception desk.
In wide spread usage for coding and identification are RFID tags like bands, pendants, cards. Biometric security support are entering market and although it could be not only fingerprints but also hands geometry, voice tone, iris scan, this first solution seems the most popular in fitness industry. This is due to fact that this technology is already well-known and used in smartphones and computers. The main advantage of biometric readers is their uncompromising attitude – only authorized member can enter your premises. A system based on such readers is fully automatic and prevents from any misuse either from a customer side or reception desk.
Nearly all elements of access control and locker room features can be integrated with such a reader. Thanks to this club’s throughput is higher, especially during peak hours, and it gives opportunity to run business 24/7 as it does not require participation of the reception. Moreover, if a fitness center has a diverse offer and many specialized activity zones than biometric readers will help to improve capacity and also general convenience. It is easy to set up a specific closed area like badminton courts or swimming pool which could be entered by a customer himself/herself without the need for an extra receptionist. Furthermore, this system assures that none of the members will forget or lose their card, band or pendant, which normally happens very often.
Many people are afraid of the biometry mostly due to lack of knowledge. Collecting fingerprints seems often associated with a criminal investigation. Interestingly, fingerprints are stored in customer database not in their original form, but as a sequence of numbers. Another myth is connected with possibility of data leakage – where fingerprints could be more prone than other data. Funny enough, we give away our basic data far more often than finger prints plus it is easier to use data in readable form such as a name, surname,date of birth than the sequence of numbers. The real concern comes from the social aspect as implementing too many hi-tech gadgets which result in human relation limitation. A fitness lifestyle is about an environment build by people, not about mindless mechanical repetitions. Some people may feel uncomfortable being served by machines. Most important question has to be answered by a gym manager or owner: who are my customers and what they expect - biometric readers can be effective solution but not for all the types of health clubs.