Four years ago a 19 year old hoodie (my term of affection for a digital genius) walked into my office with an idea for an app. His idea was not just about improving information for the consumer but, if it worked, could add granularity to our existing sports facility database. The most common way of promoting timetables at this time was pdf’s, but his idea was to get pools to maintain their timetables live; something that didn’t exist then. We not only provide the swimming pool data, but become angle investors too along with Channel Four who invested a matching amount. By the end of 2011 Apple voted it their favourite sports app.
Thinking as a consumer, a keen swimmer, a water polo club captain and a developer of iOS apps, Dan Morgan, the creative genius, saw a win-win for the pool operator and the consumer. He created an app that was fun and informative for swimmers whilst giving simple to use software so pools could maintain their timetables live on the app and their own website.
Four years later over 50% of all public pools across the UK now use this free embeddable timetable system including the newly opened Olympic Aquatic Centre in London. Consumers view the live timetables over 500,000 times a week and around 200,000 registered swimmers tell us their favourite pool, how often they go and distance they swim. Some pools like the Triangle at Burgess Hill Sussex, has over 1,200 customers favouring it.
The original app was called Splashpath and this morphed into Speedo Fit a year ago and has since launched in over 100 countries and is now seen as a Great British success story and one of the best examples of digital legacy post 2012 Games. To see a short video produced when the app went live in the USA follow this link.
In 2012 following demand from consumers and operators the start-up company Active in Time (AiT) now based at the Google Campus in East London launched a fitness app called GymJam and in 2014 a new smart watch app called SwimIO for the Pebble Watch. The watch helps swimmers from all over the world connect as it’s not simply a swim watch, it’s a smart watch that runs a swim watch app. For someone that loves notifications and is into the ‘quantified self’ like me the app/watch counts how many lengths I swim, it can tell the difference between my swim strokes and provides the algorithmic data on to my smart phone in the changing room.
Smart watches and tracking devises are part of the new trend, Bring Your Own Device, (BYOD) whilst working out. A growing number of consumers already do, so why not encourage it. It seems sports and fitness will be less about the venue and product and more about the experience and instant feedback.
You can download Speedo Fit and GymJam from the Apple app store for free. Checkout how many people have favoured and recorded work outs at your sites and it’s fun to search for pools in cities around the world too.
David Minton, Director The Leisure Database Company, supporter of Active in Time and cCLOA Member