• 7 – 10 April 2022
  • Exhibition Centre Cologne

21  October 2021, by Maximilian Gaub

Fitness mirrors: the next generation of smart TVs?

Fitness mirrors were originally conceived as home fitness devices – now manufacturers are discovering their potential to be the next generation of smart televisions.

© VAHA

There has always been something slightly narcissistic about looking into a mirror, but perhaps it is not a bad thing when it is being done not for beauty’s sake, but for health. Time to ask our living-room companion: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fittest of them all?” In future there will be considerably more people doing just that, because fitness mirrors are in the process of conquering the market – or rather people’s homes. In addition to MIRROR, the best-known provider of fitness mirrors for the US-American market, VAHA is becoming increasingly popular in Great Britain and Germany. Analysts expect the global market for intelligent mirrors to grow by ten percent annually through 2028, when it should be worth over seven billion dollars.

 

Fitness mirrors: gigantic touchscreens with motion sensors and cameras

The idea is simple, and that is what makes it so powerful: imagine a mirror that does more than simply hang on the wall – one that is able to communicate with people and help them keep fit. Mirrors like those from VAHA offer their customers fitness exercises, barbell training, yoga, aerobics – anything is possible. A motion sensor monitors movements and corrects these whenever there is any doubt. It is even possible to have a session with a real trainer – WiFi, camera and speakers make this possible. Sounds good, but isn’t it true that we were already able to do all these things with a tablet? Why is a mirror necessary? As Valerie Bures-Bönström, CEO of VAHA put it when talking to FitTech Insider: “Experience has shown that things that did not work properly on tablets can actually be amazing on a VAHA.”

Valerie Bures-Bönström © VAHA

Fitness mirrors’ advantage: even smarter than smart TVs?

Pretty amazing, aren’t they? In fact, Bures-Bönström says that the individual workouts with motion tracking are the things that customers are most likely to stick with. Here too, the differences between fitness mirrors and smart TVs become particularly clear. While smart TVs may appear to be able to do everything, Bures-Bönström says that “they simply cannot offer the comprehensive experience provided by the interaction with camera, microphone and speakers.” This might also be due to the fact that mirrors are not only supposed to be piece of sports equipment, but also serve as an attractive and elegant item of furniture that enriches any room – and anyone who turns it on often enough will also be training their body.

 

Aren't TVs very ‘2010’ anyway? Bures-Bönström: “We can see quite clearly that there are large numbers of people who want to have the large model with good sound and display quality. That is because the fitness mirror is much more than just a mirror: “A friend of mine uses the VAHA with his children as a jukebox. And we would never have come up with the idea of using the mirror as a screensaver of sorts – an artificial hearth can be very relaxing.” 

 

The future of fitness mirrors: at home and in hotels

Does this mean that people will be spending more time looking in the mirror in future? The market is certainly booming: by the end of 2021, VAHA alone expects to have 10,000 enthusiastic customers, and it expects to add many more in the years ahead. 

And there are many potential applications waiting in the wings, ranging from the presentation of digital art to targeted online clothes shopping – the list of potential uses is practically endless. Why go to a museum or a clothing store if you can do both things in the comfort of your own home? The future might also be small, depending on the point of view, because VAHA and other manufacturers have made a strategic decision to offer XS versions of their mirrors in order to serve the needs of cosmopolitan singles in small and expensive apartments in major cities, a target group with neither time nor desire for the large-scale view or experience. It is to this end that VAHA offers an app that makes it possible for users to take their workouts with them when they travel – even on a smartphone if it comes to that. Although if Valerie Bures-Bönström has her way, this will not be necessary for much longer, because she is certain that her fitness mirrors will soon be found “at home and in hotels”. However and wherever it might be, people who no longer need the community experience offered by fitness studios will soon find being without these devices inconceivable.

 

About the ‘FitTech Radar’ series

Technology is increasingly extending its tentacles into the world of fitness and health. What tech trends can we look forward to in coming months? In this monthly series, the people behind our partners at FitTech Summit share their insights into the future world of fitness and health technologies with you. 

 

About the author Maximilian Gaub
He is the co-founder and Chief Content Officer of FitTech Summit, which is based in Munich. The conference and network platform focuses on fitness technology and the future of well-being and active lifestyles. In his words: “We establish links between market participants and provide support.”

 

The innovation conference will be taking place for the fifth time from 8 to 9 November digitally under the motto ‘Tech or die!’. Natalia Karbasova, CEO of FitTech Company: “We believe that the fitness industry has no choice – it must either embrace technology or face extinction.” Conference topics: big tech, interfaces, AI – and the future. FIBO supports the event as an official partner. All the information is available at fittechsummit.com/registration