Nautilus debuted over thirty years ago with a new approach to strength training equipment that transformed the way people exercise. Since, the company has built a diverse family of brands, including Bowflex, Schwinn, and Octane Fitness, designed to meet the fitness needs of consumers around the world.
Today, the fitness industry is being redefined by new technologies and personalized experiences. Stationary cycles and treadmills have become the centerpiece of the at-home workout, powered by integrated video and applications that connect consumers to programs and communities for training, education, and motivation.
For Nautilus, staying in front of this trend required not only a new approach to technology, but a new way of developing its products. The company decided an offering was needed to meet the fast-changing expectations of its customers while providing a differentiated experience from the growing field of digital-native products for fitness. The goal: to build a platform that offers the customized workouts of a personal trainer, the motivation of a workout partner, the data and feedback of a smart watch, and much more.
To help develop the solution, Nautilus selected AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Partner Slalom and its Slalom Build software and product engineering service. Nautilus and the Slalom Build team defined the critical requirements for the new offering: A simple and straightforward user experience with plug-and-go functionality, along with support for bring-your-own-device usability. Customers connect to machines via Bluetooth, using mobile apps enabled by an intelligent, scalable back-end platform that allows Nautilus to convert machine data into user intelligence. The app captures individual workout data and asks users about their progress, then use the data to personalize workouts, keep users motivated, and help Nautilus create future offerings based on data-supported customer insights.
In partnership with Slalom Build, Nautilus seized the opportunity to reimagine its approach to creating new products. Previously, the company used a waterfall process to guide its engineering and product development. This traditionally included working with third-party developers to create one-off apps: a running app for treadmills, a biking app for bikes. For this project, a more forward-thinking process was called for. Slalom Build worked with Nautilus to establish an agile product development process that brought the right people, skillsets, and ideas together into fluid, agile teams working within a flexible delivery framework.
Slalom Build worked closely with the Nautilus UX and firmware engineering teams to bring an engaging, personalized customer experience to life. To create dynamic coaching functionality, Slalom Build built a technical platform that dynamically pulls in data and an algorithm to return it to the user through elements including voice response and workout recommendations.
Slalom Build designed a streaming video workflow around AWS Elemental MediaConvert, which provides high-quality, highly efficient transcoding and delivery of video-on-demand assets to a built-in touchscreen on the Bowflex machine or to the user’s connected device through the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network. On the back end, Slalom Build engineered a dynamic application delivery and data management environment from a host of AWS services, including Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, Amazon Cognito, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS).
The result was JRNY: a cloud-based app with an adaptive workout algorithm and robust microservices that provides customers with a highly personalized workout experience. With JRNY, Nautilus can deliver functionality that sets Bowflex Max Trainer apart in the competitive home workout market. Activity tracking and dynamic coaching deliver personalized, one-to-one assessments and workouts that encourage progress and evolve with users, so they can achieve success with every workout. More than 16,000 customers have adopted the app.
The company has also established new revenue streams through subscriptions to premium in-app services such as video workouts. Using data-driven customer insights from the platform, Nautilus can continually improve its products. Moving forward, the platform’s flexibility, scalability, and intelligence will allow Nautilus to leverage it across its family of products. Currently JRNY is an integrated feature on the new Bowflex® Max Trainer® Max Total cardio machine, and available via an app for the Bowflex®Results Series BXT216 and BXT116 treadmills. It will be made available on more Bowflex, Nautilus and Schwinn equipment over time. And, Nautilus has adopted its new agile product development company-wide, bringing to life a modern, digital-first product development organization.