How are technology and data important to the future of physical activity?


Dave Wright, CEO, Myzone


Dave showed ‘This is our World’ video created by Steve Cutts. 

Dave stated that now we are downbeat with technology … there were two main game changers in the last 10 years, the mobile phone and cloud tech. It is a case of where in the past we used to go into a lab for testing and results, now it's at the click of a button.


“You can improve your business by 10% by following the best in your sector. To improve your business by 110% you need to go outside of your sector. There is so much we can learn by looking outside our existing environment. What are people doing, what are our children doing, what are you doing?

“We can learn a lot from other sectors, how they use technology to enhance their business. For example, look at the work going on in hospitality. This is a sector where they pay less than within our industry but provide a better service.

“Take the Olympics in 2012. The main sponsor was McDonalds, they provided courses to 80,000 people and trained them up. We need to learn from others, what they do badly and what they do well.”

Dave used an example from Walmart and their new marketing director. Walmart collected data from a person’s credit card spend and were able to predict when they would get pregnant. The data provided Walmart the ability for targeted marketing and the ability to upsell baby products to the customer.

“Ask yourself a better question and you get a better answer.”

Frictionless and simple

  • How easy is something?

  • Apple’s Steve Jobs famously said - ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

  • Do you make it easy for people to go on the pathway of courses?

  • Different countries seems to have different ways of making things easier for people.

Dave gave an example from America. “You are interested in playing tennis, you input your data into a system and the system gives you options of where you can go, what’s available and what it would cost. You attend a session, with likeminded people.

“In the UK – how easy is it to get a court and how accessible is it? Do you make it easy (frictionless) and do you make it simple. Do you make it too hard for people to engage with you? What do you do to make it easy for your staff, managers, members, family members? Ask yourself what someone has to do to experience A-to-B. Your task is to eliminate as many steps as possible to make it a better experience.”


  • Data is the new art and intelligence and information is the new currency.

  • Having the data is one thing, doing nothing with it is reckless.

  • The greater the accurate/relevant data – the clearer the picture.

  • The more questions asked of a customer or member the narrower the data becomes and the  more able you are to provide them with a solution.

Dave uses an acronym within their facility – before anyone is shown around, they answer the below:


How did you hear about us?

Experience of exercise

Lifestyle – tell me

Problem – what?

“I can’t help you until I know you – this is what technology and collecting data helps us with.”

Dave gave an example of this in the real world. A customer swipes into a gym at the beginning of month and at the end of month, an assumption is made that they’re not training much due to lack of motivation.

The customer is actually training for an Ironman and is adding other training to their schedule outside of the gym but the PTs are not aware of this.

The customer becomes disheartened as you don’t know them at all.

“The point is - get to know your audience - stay connected with customers to understand why there aren’t as many swipes. What else are they doing? e.g. training for an Ironman – show that you care.

“You should make notes on your conversation and the next time you bump into that customer, ask them how the ironman went and what their next goals are. How is your daughter getting on at university? How is the new dog settling in to the family?

“Use the information you have to have better engagement with your customer, membership base, employers or fellow employees – really show that you care.”

Artificial intelligence

AI put simply is using collected data to predict behaviour.

Behaviour of your customers can be determined via data and the cool thing about this is that it can also be completed retrospectively.

“A revelation – using technology to solve the problem.”

Wearable technology

For the third year in a row, wearable tech is the fastest growing area in the sector, according to an American College of Sports Medicine study.

“Wearable tech, especially the smartwatch is so popular as they are frictionless. They do what they do apparently, simply. A user gets what they want from the product with no real fuss. Our industry needs to be more like this to appeal to more people both from a workforce and customer perspective.

“Employing certified people was down at 14 in the list two years ago and seeing it moving up in importance to number 6 this year shows that we are in a people industry.

“I really hope that this trend continues. I am very supportive of what CIMSPA are doing to create the kitemark. My aspiration is that everyone in the sector will have that endorsement soon.”