Bowflex personalizes the workout experience with AI and tablet video

For decades, Nautilus, Inc., owner of the Bowflex brand, has been offering machine-specific apps and training videos that users could access from their personal devices. Yet, to provide a truly personalized workout experience, the company needed to create a custom interface to deliver video content and AI coaching that was dynamic, intelligent and flexible.
About the company
  • Industry: Healthcare
  • Company size: Large
  • Location: United States

Nautilus is an international company with nearly 400 employees and a diverse family of popular strength and cardio brands, including Bowflex®, Nautilus®, Schwinn®, Octane Fitness®, Universal® and Modern Movement®.

Knox solutions used
Knox Configure

Delivering a truly personalized workout experience at scale

There are many excuses for not exercising — busy schedules, lack of motivation, “gymtimidation.” For decades, Nautilus, Inc. has been helping people overcome these obstacles by creating innovative cardio and strength-building machines, under the Bowflex brand, that give customers the results they want from the comfort of their own homes.

But times have changed. In the digital age, even industry leaders like Nautilus must keep innovating to remain relevant. That means offering unique products and a unique, seamless customer experience.

Nautilus had best-in-class machines and training videos. The next logical step was to make the user experience even more convenient, personalized and engaging.

Nautilus already offered machine-specific apps and training videos that users could access from their personal tablets or smartphones. Yet to provide a truly personalized workout experience, the company needed to create an interface to deliver video content that was dynamic, intelligent and flexible. That meant Nautilus also needed to provide the tablets.

Nautilus, Inc. didn’t have the resources to configure every single tablet by hand before pairing it with a machine. They needed a way to customize devices at scale.


Scaling innovation through Knox Configure

In early 2017, Nautilus, Inc. launched the Bowflex HVT+ — a premium model of its popular high-velocity trainer that includes a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which comes preinstalled with the custom HVT app. Nautilus also wanted the tablets to feature information about the machine, popular fitness tracking apps and third-party entertainment apps.

Using Knox Configure customization APIs, Nautilus created a tailored tablet experience that reflects their brand and gives them complete control over the user interface. Unnecessary functionality and settings get locked down, icons always deploy to the same spot, and app configurations remain on the device, even after a factory reset.

The Bowflex HVT+ machine was so successful that Nautilus decided to offer tablets with other popular exercise machines, starting with the Bowflex MAX Trainer and Bowflex Lateral Trainer.

Adding tablets to more machines presented new challenges. If each tablet was preconfigured for only one machine, Nautilus would need to stock several different tablets. Also, customers with multiple Nautilus machines would need to purchase multiple tablets. To solve this problem, Nautilus worked with Samsung developers to create the Bowflex Experience app — a launcher app that lets users specify which Nautilus machines they own and automatically download all content associated with each product, all on one tablet.

Next, Nautilus used the Samsung tablets as the platform to introduce their most advanced technology to date. Max Intelligence is Nautilus’ groundbreaking, proprietary, cloud-based, adaptive-coaching AI, designed for the Bowflex Max Trainer. The Max Intelligence app takes users through an initial fitness assessment, tracks and collects workout data and uses predictive analytics to learn users’ capabilities and truly personalize each workout experience with tablet video content. Along the way, users receive voice instruction and encouragement from their personal fitness coach, “Max.”

Knox helps us be more nimble, flexible and faster to market.

-Wes Citti, Digital Product Line Manager, Nautilus, Inc.

After a year working with Samsung, Nautilus has already seen the value of the partnership, including these significant results:

  • Time/cost savings

    Nautilus procures tablets directly from Samsung Business Services. The devices are already associated with the Knox Configure profile, so once Nautilus turns them on, they automatically download the profile and configure themselves. “By leveraging Knox Configure, the setup of the device drops from 11 to 13 taps on the screen, down to three per device,” said Petroski. “If you’re rolling out 50,000 devices, that’s a lot of time savings — not to mention the steps it would take to deploy users’ experience manually to the tablets.”

  • Improved customer satisfaction

    When Nautilus asked customers about their decision to purchase the Bowflex HVT+, versus the base model without the Samsung tablets, 81 percent reported being “happy” with their choice. “Customers feel like it’s a service,” said Julia Eschman, director of customer experience at Nautilus. “The branded tablet makes the machine easier to use, and it’s a more cohesive experience. It truly feels like a dedicated device, because it’s customized to live alongside our products.”

  • Increased sales

    One-third of the people who purchase the Bowflex HVT trade up to the premium model. Brotherton believes the new Bowflex Experience app will also increase sales. “As consumers go through setup and select their machine, they’ll be exposed to our full line of products. It’s just the first of many opportunities to introduce cardio to strength consumers and vice versa. We’re finding that in all cases, with the tablet-offered products, people are mixing them up more than we expected. That’s why we’re adding them across our product line.”

  • Better app engagement

    “Before we had Knox Configure, we were leaving it up to the user to search for, download and install our apps,” says Eschman. “We know that our customers are busy and don’t want to deal with complexity, and many weren’t using our apps. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but those couple of steps are often just enough to keep people from using it.”

  • Agile innovation

    “Knox Configure helps us be more nimble, flexible and faster to market,” says Wes Citti, digital product line manager at Nautilus. “A month is a million years in software development. By using Knox Configure for testing and deployment, we can start getting feedback right away. Then we can quickly update algorithms or make copy changes, without necessarily needing a new app update.”

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