About this good practice
In NL a lot of companies were already investing in smart and data based products & services. COVID has accelerated this and emphasised the need. But also the target groups (consumers) are ‘forced’ to change their behaviour and accepting much more data-based products & services and more remote/online/smart services.
The company profile of Embedded Fitness was delivering interactive gaming for all ages. Activities were product development, but also supplying products from themselves AND others in events to create fun experience: event organisation. During COVID no events were there, but a large focus came on innovation in products. Also the business focus of the company was redirected: no more events (lots of organisational efforts with only marginal profits), so refocus on development and sales of OWN products.
Results are that the company is developing & marketing different smart products for stimulation of exercise with data acquisition, a.o. SmartClips (to make free exercises smart by monitoring (near) contact) and SmartMove (a smart walking route based on smart poles).
From a product & product representation company it is now an own product company & data organisation.
The products they now have in offer are to stimulate people to do physical exercise and create interaction (that can be developed by others) but also gain data about use, exercise, etc.
The investment has come from: an ERDF project, own resources and government lockdown support measures. 3 Persons are active in developing and testing these new products, while also outsourcing the design of these.
Evidence of success
SmartClips and SmartMove are sold and piloted in different cities in the Netherlands (a.o. Breda, Helmond and Venlo) and receive interest from other cities in and outside NL, but also the company has received national prizes (and an export support to Germany) for the products they have developed. The basic idea to have smart nodes and an app, to be used in a public environment, without need to identify yourself is very attractive for cities to engage their citizens without privacy conflicts.
Potential for learning or transfer
At company level the practise is interesting to show in which direction strategic change in COVID times can deliver success. In particular the idea to develop products to stimulate exercise in public environments and make it smart to create interaction AND give feedback on the result fits very well in modern society. On the other hand it is also very interesting for public authorities (cities, regions) to create environments where citizens can be engaged in a smart and interactive way without conflicts on privacy issues. It gives them insights on the use of certain public infrastructure.
It is a good example of how private and public organisations can collaborate to stimulate physical exercise in- and outdoor through smart equipment.