Market Opportunity explained
Many people don't join gyms, choosing one of the hundreds of home training options instead, whether it's Yoga, bodyweight or bodybuilding.
The big difference between training at home and training in the gym is the fact that you are not followed or observed by a trainer, who can correct any errors that could lead you to injuries or less effective training.
Fitness trackers have been a growing trend for years but when it comes to monitoring the correct execution of the exercises everything changes: there are only few solutions on the market, which are 'closed' ( monitoring only exercises performed on the proprietary platforms), they require the purchase of hardwares and/or are expensive.
Facing this scenario, our mouth watered at the idea of applying our computer vision skills to automatically evaluate the correctness of exercises performed at home.
Before developing the technology, we asked ourselves 3 big questions:
[BUSINESS RELATED] Is a user who trains from home interested in receiving live feedback from an artificial intelligence during the training session?
[SOLUTION RELATED] Is it realistic to think that people are doing training sessions in front of a video camera (smartphone or webcam)?
[DESIGN RELATED] Which is the best way to give users a feedback on their posture during training?
Home Digital Fitness Market
According to our surveys, these are some of the most used digital tools for training from home:
Youtube, DownDog, Nike training, Fitplan, Keep, Adidas Training Runtastic, Freeletics, Fixfit, and Instagram itself became a Training platform from home during the Lockdown. One in particular, Cyberobics, has seen huge growth during the lockdown.
Some data related to this world:
Cyberobics in January was very little known, but in 2-3 months of Lockdown it became among the 10 most downloaded apps in the fitness world
downloaded by 2M people worldwide
used by 250k / 300k people daily
the market niche is large enough to experiment
any solution should be multi-platform, or should integrate with all the tools listed above
To answer the 3 main questions, we designed and built a prototype that would allow the personal trainer to give feedback to a user following his/her favorite workouts - in the links below you will find the design and construction process
In the image below you see that we added to the normal training video success feedbacks on the left (to reward the correct execution) and the corrective feedbacks on the right (to turn on the user's attention on the part of the body to be corrected). Both are accompanied by a sound to capture the user's attention.
The first tests also gave us evidence of the appreciation of gamification dynamics, therefore we added them at the top left (‘200 points’). These dynamics have proven to be anything but marginal: in fact, to date there is also no known solution that detects and quantifies the improvements in the motor skills of the user to perform certain exercises.
For further information:
[DESIGN] the method we followed, the research on the state of the art of the solutions, the feedback to be given to the user, the user interface created:
[TECH] technologies used and our prototype choices: https://exploratorium.substack.com/p/tecnologie-utilizzate-e-scelte-prototipali
[RESEARCH & STRATEGY] ethnographic research, completed questionnaires, interviews and validation strategies: https://exploratorium.substack.com/p/research-and-strategy-sprint5
What we discovered
1. [ BUSINESS RELATED] Is a user who trains from home interested in receiving live feedback from an artificial intelligence during the training session?
Among people who already use fitness apps and videos:
71% consider the feedback received from the prototype to be a valid or fundamental element
63% said they were interested in participating in a training session with artificial intelligence capable of giving feedback.
100% of those who tried our prototype said they would repeat the experience
2. [SOLUTION RELATED] Is it realistic to think that people are doing training sessions in fron of a video camera (smartphone or webcam)?
From the observation of the test sessions it emerged that there are no particular difficulties in the use devices for a correct framing of the exercises
3. [DESIGN RELATED] Which is the best way to give users a feedback on their posture during training?
While 20% of the sample does not feel the need to receive feedback via voice indication, 79% believe the audio is useful or essential
As for video feedback, everyone finds it useful or essential.
77% said they were satisfied with the video feedback, believed it positively affected the overall experience and managed to correct the movement after receiving it.
100% also indicated that they would have liked to receive voice feedback explaining in detail the corrections to be made (not present in our prototype, we will therefore consider adding it).
4. [BONUS] GAMIFICATION
The design & research process brought out a key competitive advantage of a possible 'Virtual Training' solution: the fact of being able to give a score to the execution of an exercise motivates and hooks the user considerably to the training method. No app currently can offer this dynamic to its users, precisely because at the moment they are unable to evaluate the execution of the movements
Partner and quantitative analysis
McFit, the largest group of gyms in Europe and owner of Cyberobics, immediately recognized the value of this exploration and said it was available to support us in the subsequent project phases:
validate the value proposition
test the prototype on its user base
make their personal trainers available for the training phase of artificial intelligence