Fittar wants everyone to get in shape
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Fittar wants everyone to get in shape

The interactive fitness mirror Fittar Smart Mirror is already doing very well, but the company, originally from Groningen, expects much more from the Fittar Smartbox, which will be in stores in a few weeks. The device keeps or makes people fit, brings (home-working) colleagues closer together and above all has a very large fun factor. NOM also believes in it. Thanks to funding, Fittar is stepping on the gas pedal.

'We are working on all kinds of things at once,' says director Robert Ranzijn. 'Developing new interactive games, rolling them out abroad, sharpening the revenue model, connecting sales channels. And in the meantime, we are also creating more and more content. It's busy, but a great time.'

Fittar is now working especially hard on the Smartbox. This is a device the size of a digital TV box that you connect directly to your TV. The box unlocks a library of some 1,500 fitness videos and over 5,000 separate exercises that you can turn on your TV. The advanced 3D camera inside it records all your movements so you can see progression and calorie consumption or track your scores against other users via the Fittar app.

Gamification central

'You turn your home television into a fitness instructor. It's really different than just streaming a video. Fittar's way encourages staying or getting exercise at home. Especially the way we used gamification contributes to this. You earn extras if you achieve certain goals, for example. But even better is that you compete with your friends, family, colleagues or - soon - just anyone anywhere in the world. It's all possible.

Ranzijn sees many market opportunities in those colleagues in particular, especially in view of the past lockdown months. Employees sat at home more, joint sports activities with colleagues disappeared, get-togethers and other outings were no longer allowed. 'In such a situation it is difficult to stay precisely informed about the ups and downs of your people. I think that working from home is partly permanent, so the reduced commitment to the company also remains. By setting up company competitions and playing sports together, you increase interconnectedness. And working from home all day long poses a great risk to the employer and employee. Sitting is the new smoking. Then our Smartbox is a godsend.'

The new product has even more up its sleeve, the CEO believes. 'This way of exercising and being in competition with each other also appeals to less athletic people. Employees who do not already go to the gym together can easily join in. That approachability is a big win for employee health and society. As a sales department, you just don't want to lose out to the accounting department. And vice versa. That encourages you to get moving.

Shadowboxing

The Smartbox is an outcome of years of investment and development, as well as close monitoring of the market and trends. A logical spin-off it is from Fittar's primal product: the smart mirror. Martijn de Jong from Deventer and comrade Alje de Jong from Leeuwarden came up with that concept. Ranzijn joined as an investor in the summer of 2018, but soon liked the idea so much that he wanted to get more involved and became CEO.

'We initially targeted hotels, corporate gyms and professional gyms with the Smart Mirror. That went well for six months. And then came corona. People stayed home; our professional smart mirrors are not interesting for the home market. So we decided at lightning speed to invest in a new, smaller, affordable model. With the same capabilities and the same library of training behind it. You play a game of shadowboxing with it against your family, or against colleagues or sports friends.'

The smaller mirror is nice. To reach even more people, we need a device that is even more accessible, Ranzijn and his team realized. Soon the answer will be at (online) retailers at home and abroad: the Smartbox. That device is more than a handy version of the mirror for home use. 'It's about the world behind it. Thanks to the box, you get good fitness training on your own TV, we make sure you can exercise against whoever you want, keep track of your development, keep being offered new exercises and more. That's where the value is.'

Sustainable employability

NOM investment manager Klaas Kooistra sees it exactly that way. He did not have to think very long about whether NOM should invest in Fittar. 'Those extensive gaming possibilities make this concept cast-iron. Apart from that, there is a team behind Fittar that is really impressive. Just the right people together. That can turn a good idea into a great success. We expect a lot from it. Getting healthy and fitter is a trend that will continue for some time to come.'

The same is probably true of working from home. The covid crisis taught us that there are substantial advantages to working from home. Provided the systems for doing so worked smoothly. And they surprisingly often did. The same can be said for the Smartbox. Less time at the office, less time in the company gym, more at home. Then you do want to keep exercising in a way that is at least as attractive as outdoors.

For employers, it would be great news if people continue to exercise or even do it more. Sustainable employability is the magic word here. Ranzijn: 'That's why we're partly aiming at those employers. We are now developing a dashboard - we call it the playground - which is a kind of overview page. There you can see the ranks and standings of all employees, results and more. We make those playgrounds in the look and feel of the customer. So it really becomes a tool to work on employee health.'

To help achieve that goal, Fittar is thinking of launching a subscription form. 'We have those anyway in different variations with all our devices. With that, you can make unlimited use of the mountain of content that is growing. For employers, we are thinking of a kind of lease model. This would give all employees a Smartbox in combination with a subscription offered by the boss.
boss offers. More on that soon.'

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