4-page Case Study
Posted: 6/28/2013
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Flywheel Sports Indoor Cycling Studio Attracts Repeat Business with Unique Customer Experience

When the successful New York City–based boutique fitness studio Flywheel Sports expanded nationwide and overseas, it felt that it was essential to choose state-of-the-art technology. Flywheel Sports chose to implement a Microsoft multitouch solution. The company now uses Surface RT tablets from Microsoft running the Windows RT operating system to motivate indoor cyclists to become repeat users of the tech-savvy fitness studio. Flywheel Sports utilizes the solution to instantly connect riders online and in-studio with reservations, performance statistics, and other riders through a first-of-its-kind Social Booking system.

Situation
Flywheel Sports is a boutique fitness studio with 600 employees that specializes in indoor cycling. Classes are taught in a theatrical stadium-style studio with a technology overlay that allows people to compete against each other and track their progress over time.

Riders pay for best-in-class instructors; contemporary music playlists from in-house DJs; beautiful surroundings in a boutique-like setting with a retail and apparel store; and a place to relax, hang out with friends, and check performance statistics online after or before their class.

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* Being modern is essential to the fitness experience. You need to be in front of everything and we really feel that with Microsoft technologies, we’re staying one step ahead of everybody else. *

Jay Galluzzo
CEO and
Co-founder,
Flywheel Sports

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To differentiate themselves from competitors, Flywheel Sports uses technology to improve the customer experience. “Everyone is looking for an edge,” says Jay Galluzzo, CEO and Co-founder of Flywheel Sports. “When you take a fitness class, you need something that gives you that extra push. The technology Flywheel provides gives people that extra incentive to work a little harder and that drives results.”

Co-founded in 2009 by Ruth Zukerman, who had pioneered boutique fitness with indoor cycling in New York City three years before, Flywheel Sports excels at customer service. “We focus on making the rider feel really good about themselves,” says Zukerman. “It’s important that we be current with technology to make indoor cycling at Flywheel the most fun, comfortable, and efficient workout one can get.”

“We’re trying to minimize the time spent outside the studio and allow riders to quickly and easily get to their bike,” says Stacey Seldin, Executive VP of Marketing and Technology at Flywheel Sports. “Technology is critical to the Flywheel experience, both in and outside the studio. Literally tens of thousands of people interact with our check-in computers every week. We need that experience to be fun, to be easy—and we need it to get people through the process as quickly as possible.”

Solution
To remain at the forefront of technology, Flywheel Sports chose Surface tablets from Microsoft for use in their studios worldwide. “Microsoft is such a huge, respected name in the business,” reflects Zukerman. “We just knew it was going to be an instant success having Microsoft technology manage the way our riders register.” Currently, there are more than 100 units installed across Flywheel studios with plans to roll out four to five Surface tablets into every new studio.

“Flywheel Sports is the market leader in integrating technology with boutique fitness,” says Galluzzo. “When we sought a partner to help us develop the in-studio experience, we went straight to Microsoft and their Surface tablet. Because the Surface is lightweight and portable, it’s the perfect tool for our studios.”

*
* When you take a fitness class, you need something that gives you that extra push. The technology Flywheel provides gives people that extra incentive to work a little harder and that drives results. *

Jay Galluzzo
CEO and
Co-founder,
Flywheel Sports

*
Laptops in earlier studios had proved to be bulky and not very inviting to multitasking users who were in a hurry to get to class. Flywheel Sports found that implementing Surface RT was more affordable than other options like iPad and the keyboard accessories they would require.

To deliver an intuitive customer experience and integrate with its current computing platform, Flywheel Sports upgraded its conventional laptop system to a new, touch-enabled check-in process on Surface RT tablets running the Windows RT operating system. “We chose Surface RT over other tablets or laptops because its sleek design matches the modern look and brand of our Flywheel studios,” says Seldin. “And it doesn’t hurt that the blue Surface Touch Cover matches our brand colors.”

“Being modern is essential to the fitness experience,” says Galluzzo. “You need to be in front of everything and we really feel that with Microsoft technologies, we’re staying one step ahead of everybody else."

“Before we brought Surface to the studio experience, riders had to check in at the front desk and we would only be able to provide customer service functions from that point,” says Bob Rademacher, Head of the Technology Team at Flywheel Sports. “Surface gives us the ability to use it as a laptop on the counters or move through the studio and help customers at each phase of their visit. The Windows platform across all of our devices allows us to operate more efficiently and the Surface touch experience brings our check-in and concierge process to the next level.”

Riders first access the system on the Flywheel Sports website, where they go to select class times, book their bikes, and see which classes their friends have reserved. “Flywheel is the first boutique fitness studio to offer Social Booking,” explains Galluzzo. “Our customers opt into sharing with their friends which classes they’ve signed up for and what bike they’re on. And that’s all available on the Surface tablet. We believe that everything is more fun with your friends.”

To support the advantage of working out with a group, Flywheel uses connected systems and communal displays like its in-studio Torqboard that is integrated with the studio’s Surface tablets. Customized, technology-equipped Flywheel Sports bikes collect power data, distance, and RPM data for all riders in each class and upload it in real time to each user’s account. That data can then be used by customers to compare ride over ride, set goals, track their progress, and compare themselves to other riders.

“Riders can go online and manage their data on a performance dashboard via our in-studio Surface devices, a soon-to-be released mobile app, or via our website,” says Rademacher. “They can even export data from our app into Microsoft Excel and chart their progress if they desire. And while in class, they can opt in to see their real-time performance metrics in comparison to other riders on our in-studio Torqboard.”

“People—whether they think they are or not—are pretty competitive,” says Zukerman. “Even if you’re not on the Torqboard, you can still see your score and how you’re doing compared to the rest of the class. That drives results. The Flywheel app lets riders see which bikes their friends have reserved, select their bike, and even challenge another rider for a fun and social experience.”

Benefits
Flywheel Sports continues to revolutionize the world of boutique fitness using Windows-based multitouch software solutions. By presenting reservation and check-in processes, along with real-time personal performance metrics on Surface tablets, Flywheel delivers multiple benefits to its customers.

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* Riders can go online and manage their data on a performance dashboard via our in-studio Surface devices, a soon-to-be released mobile app, or via our website. *

Bob Rademacher
Head of Technology Team,
Flywheel Sports

*
Improved Experience and Enhanced Mobility
Flywheel Sports is racing ahead of competitors when it comes to tech-powered and efficient communications that improve in-studio flow and the holistic boutique fitness experience. “Technology can sometimes make people feel intimidated,” says Seldin. “The Surface is sleek. It’s clean; it’s lean—and it only takes a few seconds to check in when you arrive at our studio. We want customers to be happy and enjoy coming in and getting to their bike as quickly as possible. We think Surface can do that better than any computer on the market.”

Better Personal Performance Metrics
Because of the computer technology integrated into their workout, riders at Flywheel Sports are given the most authentic and efficient 45-minute ride they could possibly get.

“People want to know that they’re getting results when they’re paying for an indoor cycling class in a boutique studio,” says Zukerman. “By tracking their progress and seeing the numbers for every ride that they take, riders actually have data that tells them: I’m getting stronger. I’m getting faster. I’m getting leaner.”

Access to Social Booking and Community
There is a big social element in boutique fitness. “We really want to welcome everybody and encourage everybody to exercise,” says Zukerman. “Riders have made friends just by being here. Knowing how their friends are performing in class or which classes and bikes they’ve booked are just more ways that technology is helping us make the rider feel really warm and at home.”

Use of State-of-the-Art Technology
“The Surface has been very successful for Flywheel,” says Rademacher. “Customers like it. Our tech team likes it. It’s easy to deploy. Windows 8 has been a natural progression for us with our business processes and allows us to look forward to such solutions as Microsoft Dynamics for our CRM [customer relationship management] or ERP [enterprise resource planning] needs.”

“Adopting the new Windows operating system, and the Surface tablets in particular, has been a terrific investment,” says Galluzzo. “We really love our customers’ reaction when they see the Surface for the first time. But even more so, we love it when they come in for the second time and they’re comfortable with it and they want to know what more it can do.”

Surface and Windows RT
For more information about Surface and Windows RT, go to:

www.surface.com/business
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/rt-welcome

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Flywheel Sports products and services, visit the website at:
www.flywheelsports.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 600 employees

Organization Profile

In just three short years since it was founded in 2009, Flywheel Sports has expanded to offer boutique fitness indoor cycling to 24 cities and is rapidly expanding worldwide.


Business Situation

When Flywheel Sports expanded across the United States and overseas, it needed an innovative technology solution that would be valuable both inside and outside the fitness studio.


Solution

Flywheel Sports decided to deploy a Microsoft multitouch solution, using Surface RT tablets running Windows RT.


Benefits

  • Improved fitness experience
  • Enhanced mobility
  • Better performance metrics
  • Access to social booking
  • Use of advanced technology


Software and Services
Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

Vertical Industries
Other Services

Country/Region
United States

Languages
English

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