Column: Dan Donohue - voice recognition in sports

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Elliptical stride cross trainer
Dan Donohue writes about using voice recognition in the sports and fitness industry.

Voice recognition technology has gained huge prominence in the last year or two with the rise of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home and Apple’s Siri.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has matured rapidly and many people now use it for a whole abundance of things including voice to text,

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setting up reminders, searching the internet, or even asking for a weather update.

The last few years has also seen a rise to prominence of wearable tech and this is something that we’ve covered in past articles, but the rise of voice technology is now starting to work its way into the world of sports and more importantly, into health and fitness and this is something that I find incredibly intriguing.

It may even mean that I’ll no longer have to sit and type this column in years to come, but simply speak my words into some kind of device that will do it for me!

Further to that, fitness professionals may be of no use anymore, as AI will be able to do the job for us!

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We have already seen it put to use by teams within the Premier League with

Arsenal being the first to use Amazon’s Alexa technology to allow fans to access live streaming of the club’s games, see the line-ups, ask for score updates and gain access to match statistics as they happen.

Once the match has concluded, they can ask for a full match report with all the game’s statistics attached.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has gone a step further and already integrated it into stadiums to allow fans attending a game to access AI technology. Fans of the Seattle Mariners can access Alexa at their Safesco Field stadium to enhance their game-day experience.

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Fans attending the game using the club’s VIP facilities can use voice to order food, change TV channels, or even play music.

Talk of it being used in health and fitness clubs in the very near future is rife and is really beginning to gather pace, with many

people saying that it will help to influence the member experience.

Personal training apps that converse with its members like a real coach or trainer would and members being able to speak to the treadmill they’re on in order to increase the incline without the need to push a single button.

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Google Home already have the Fitstar workouts available, a range of workouts from Fitbit ranging from plank workouts to seven-minute HIIT workouts.

All you simply have to do is ask and hey presto, a workout is available for you to begin by simply speaking a few words!

Is this the future of health and fitness?

It’s certainly an intriguing look into what is to come and, in all honesty, is very exciting.

I certainly feel it will help to influence the member experience in health and

fitness clubs around the world in a positive way and even help to increase the amount of activity we do at home.