Why? Because, as wearable devices continue to impact the health and fitness industry – the American College of Sports & Medicine (ACSM) cites wearable technology as the top fitness trend for 2016 – operators are realising the benefits that electronic locking systems working in conjunction with Mifare wristbands can offer them.
Leading innovator Center Parcs was an early adopter of the technology, working with locking solutions specialist Ojmar to install its OTS Transponder System at the new Center Parcs Village at Woburn Forest. Following their successful installation at Whinfell Forest and in a number of the group’s Aqua Sana spa facilities, approximately 2,000 locks were installed throughout the Woburn Forest village, including in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Sports Plaza, Outdoor Activity Centre and the Aqua Sana Spa.
Using the wristband, guests can operate lockers, access accommodation and make cashless payments. This means no more trips to the locker to collect a wallet to pay for drinks or food by the pool, creating a better experience for guests.
The Mifare wristband is becoming the wearable of choice for health and fitness operators. As well as being cost effective, the silicone wristbands are waterproof and can be branded with the club’s logo for further marketing opportunities. Operators can also increase their secondary spend through band rental and cashless purchases.
Implementing an electronic system requires operators to take a leap of faith. They need to be assured that the system is reliable, cost effective and easy for staff to manage and maintain. The technology also has to perform well with existing systems without complicated integration.
Ojmar’s systems are constantly being upgraded to work seamlessly with other technologies such as cashless payment systems, cardio equipment from suppliers like Technogym, Precor and Milon, as well as with membership systems provided by the likes of Gladstone MRM.
The OTS Advanced locks have been improved to work with multiple technologies, including Ojmar’s new Near Field Communication (NFC) programmer offering wireless reporting from the locks and over 100 use events logs as well as instant lock programming and battery testing. The locks can be future-proofed with simple firmware updates, achieved by touching the unit to the lock. Ojmar will continue its programme of innovation throughout 2016.
Clubs that made the switch
2015 was an incredible year for Ojmar with numerous operators upgrading to Ojmar’s electronic range of locking solutions. These include Village Hotels, which has installed the OTS basic system at three of its Velocity health and fitness clubs, with a further three sites in Maidstone, Bournemouth and Cheadle to follow in 2016.
Other operators include corporate gyms such as HSBC’s headquarters in Canada Square, operated by Nuffield, and Sky which replaced digital code locks in its head office changing rooms with the OCS digital system to allow automatic opening after three hours to maximise usage and to prevent locker reservations.
In the public sector, leisure centres like Sheffield’s Ponds Forge, part of the SIV group, and GLL’s Better Gym in Greenwich are also benefiting from the technology.
Combining value for money and longevity, Ojmar’s electronic solutions are also proving popular among independent operators and smaller chains like London’s boutique club Psycle, which has invested in the OCS digital system at two sites.
In 2016, Tribeca Studios, a pay-per-use fitness studio inspired by the group classes taking New York by storm, will install Ojmar’s OTS advanced system with NFC technology, which will be managed digitally via customers’ wristbands.
Ojmar has also worked with the owners of Shoreditch House, an exclusive private members club in East London, to replace a confusing and unreliable digital code locking system with Ojmar’s OCS digital lock. The OCS Digital system uses a simple four digit code to access lockers and proved so popular with members that it has been rolled out to the group’s sister sites Babington House and Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds; a favourite of Prime Minister David Cameron and supermodel Kate Moss.
With the new 12-sided £1 coin due to be introduced in 2017, there has never been a better time to go digital.