BrightSign players deliver personalised coaching in 150 gyms

Cambridge, UK, Monday, 20 February 2017 – BrightSign, LLC®, the global market leader in digital signage media players, today announced that its players are delivering the interactive and personalised training experience in the FunXtion Experience Station installed in over 150 gyms in seven countries. FunXtion is rolling the concept out worldwide.

The FunXtion Experience Station adds new interactivity to the experience of visiting a gym, under the control of BrightSign’s newest XT1143 4K players. Created by Notice Branded Media Experience Station offers a personalised virtual coaching system, enabling users to work out safely, challenge themselves, and track and trace their workouts. They can also work out in groups, with two or more screens providing synchronised video content under the control of the players. Users log in using an RFID wristband, and find a personalised range of functional exercises, gamified workouts, challenges and timers. Experience Station consists of a 55” screen, which can also be controlled by touch.

Ernst de Neef, Energizer and Fun Creator as well as a founder of FunXtion, said, “Our vision is ‘play and have fun’ and from the start we wanted Experience Station to be a game as well as a training aid. This meant moving away from a screen pushing general content (“monkey see – monkey do”) to encouraging the customer to interact and allowing them to work out as a social group if they want. Experience Station is used by all ages, but is aimed at millennials. The BrightSign player at the heart of the station is the centre of an ecosystem which includes an integrated My FunXtion App as well as an online account accessible from the desktop. We not only provide a personal training record but also offer the opportunity to get social and connect with a group of users.”

FunXtion initially piloted the concept with gyms in their home country, the Netherlands where 100 stations are now in use. Take up worldwide is growing, with over 50 gyms in the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Spain ordering Experience Stations. Ernst de Neef is now spending considerably more time in the air, as global interest grows.

Hans de Boer, Account Director of Notice Branded Media, said, “The BrightSign player manages the whole experience. It recognises the customer through the RFID wristband, selects and delivers the appropriate training videos from a library of over 1000 held on the player, and monitors the progress of training for example through the customer’s heartbeat. When not in use, Experience Station displays video content which could include advertising.”

The FunXtion Experience Station was initially created using BrightSign 4K1042 players, but since the launch of BrightSign Series 3 players, Notice has moved to the XT1143, bringing a number of advantages.

Harry Wiertz, Innovation Director at Notice said, “Experience Station hosts a truly extensive library of content, with over 1000 individual video clips. Each exercise is supported by a video explaining how to perform it, and there are further clips celebrating success and providing count downs, giving an exceptional level of content. On the original players, we used 64GB SD cards, and made use of H.265 compression to reduce the file size by about 50%. The new player, however, features an M2 peripheral port, allowing us to install a SATA SSD hard disk drive.”

The hardware accelerated HTML5 engine also made a significant difference to the implementation, according to Harry Wiertz. “We use complex and memory intensive HTML5 content such as swipe/pinch/zoom interactive, streaming social media and multiple modular HTML5 assets layered with live TV and video to create an engaging experience for the user. The new players are about twice as fast, and that does make a difference to the user experience.”

The user’s heart rate is read via their MyZone band worn around the chest. This band connects to the gym network through Wi-Fi, and the player interrogates it every second to obtain a new reading.