For decades, Nautilus, Inc., owner of the Bowflex brand, has been helping people get gym-quality results from the comfort of their own homes with innovative cardio and strength-building machines. But in the digital age, even industry leaders must keep innovating to remain relevant. Nautilus, Inc. already offered machine-specific apps and training videos that users could access from their personal devices. Yet, to provide a truly personalized workout experience, the company needed to create a custom interface to deliver video content and AI coaching that was dynamic, intelligent and flexible.
81% of customers who purchase Bowflex HVT+ over the base model report being "happy" with their choice.
Bowflex reduced time to market and saved development funds by taking off-the-shelf hardware combined with Knox Configure to create a unique, customized user experience. Buyers of the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 are twice as likely to purchase annual subscriptions to Max Intelligence. The Nautilus development team is more agile and faster to market and, thanks to Knox, Nautilus can get the customized tablets configured and ready to ship with just three screen touches.
About Nautilus, Inc.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington, Nautilus, Inc. has been helping customers successfully accomplish their fitness goals for more than 40 years. While other fitness brands build expensive, conventional weight machines for gyms, Nautilus develops innovative ways to bring gym-quality equipment and results into the home. The company’s latest innovation is the Max Intelligence platform — a groundbreaking, proprietary, cloud-based, adaptive-coaching AI, designed to help Bowflex Max Trainer cardio machine users reach their fitness goals.
Nautilus is an international company with nearly 400 employees and a diverse family of popular strength and cardio brands, including Bowflex®, Nautilus®, Schwinn®, Octane Fitness®, Universal® and Modern Movement®.
Delivering a Truly Personalized Workout Experience at Scale
There are many excuses for not exercising — busy schedules, lack of motivation, “gymtimidation.” For decades, Nautilus, Inc. has been helping people overcome these obstacles by creating innovative cardio and strength-building machines, under the Bowflex brand, that give customers the results they want from the comfort of their own homes.
But times have changed. In the digital age, even industry leaders like Nautilus must keep innovating to remain relevant. That means offering unique products and a unique, seamless customer experience.
Nautilus had best-in-class machines and training videos. The next logical step was to make the user experience even more convenient, personalized and engaging.
“We truly believe that everyone deserves a healthy and fit life,” explained Chris Quatrochi, senior vice president of innovation at Nautilus. “Many of our commercials to date have featured our customers. We’ve received thousands of testimonials describing incredible transformations, but we sell hundreds of thousands of products, so why don’t we have hundreds of thousands of testimonials? We have more than a million customers, and each of them has different needs based on their unique lifestyle, physiology and attitude toward exercise. We wanted to create a tablet-based platform that meets everybody where they’re at on their fitness journey and provides the right results and the right motivation so that they can achieve success.”
Nautilus already offered machine-specific apps and training videos that users could access from their personal tablets or smartphones. Yet to provide a truly personalized workout experience, the company needed to create an interface to deliver video content that was dynamic, intelligent and flexible. That meant Nautilus also needed to provide the tablets.
Joseph Petroski, senior sales engineer for enterprise at Samsung, said, “When you’re going to deliver a piece of technology into a consumer’s home that’s as wide open as mobile devices are today, you don’t want to allow users to get in a space in the interface that they’re unfamiliar with, like settings they shouldn’t necessarily be working with. Nautilus needed the ability to streamline the interface and make the technology part of the overall product, versus it feeling like an add-on or attachment. Since the tablet is part of the workout equipment, the experience of the tablet needed to reflect the consumer experience on the workout equipment overall.”
That level of customization is easier said than done, Petroski said. “When you’re setting up a tablet for consumer use, there are some things you can only do with software, not on the tablet itself, like restricting access to certain settings. Other customizations — such as loading the Nautilus app and optimizing settings — are possible on the tablet, but would take a number of different manual touches after the out-of-the-box setup happens, not to mention the setup itself.”
Nautilus, Inc. didn’t have the resources to configure every single tablet by hand before pairing it with a machine. They needed a way to customize devices at scale.
Scaling Innovation Through Samsung Knox Configure
In early 2017, Nautilus, Inc. launched the Bowflex HVT+ — a premium model of its popular high-velocity trainer that includes a Samsung Galaxy tablet, which comes preinstalled with the custom HVT app. Nautilus also wanted the tablets to feature information about the machine, popular fitness tracking apps and third-party entertainment apps.
Using Knox Configure customization APIs, Nautilus created a tailored tablet experience that reflects their brand and gives them complete control over the user interface. Unnecessary functionality and settings get locked down, icons always deploy to the same spot, and app configurations remain on the device, even after a factory reset.
The Bowflex HVT+ machine was so successful that Nautilus decided to offer tablets with other popular exercise machines, starting with the Bowflex MAX Trainer and Bowflex Lateral Trainer.
“The consumer experience was so improved by the Samsung tablets that it was a no-brainer to move forward,” says Aaron Brotherton, senior director of marketing for Nautilus. “This was the beginning of a shift for us — from being focused on app development, to finding new ways to bring those experiences to life for consumers.”
Adding tablets to more machines presented new challenges. If each tablet was preconfigured for only one machine, Nautilus would need to stock several different tablets. Also, customers with multiple Nautilus machines would need to purchase multiple tablets. To solve this problem, Nautilus worked with Samsung developers to create the Bowflex Experience app — a launcher app that lets users specify which Nautilus machines they own and automatically download all content associated with each product, all on one tablet.
Next, Nautilus used the Samsung tablets as the platform to introduce their most advanced technology to date. Max Intelligence is Nautilus’ groundbreaking, proprietary, cloud-based, adaptive-coaching AI, designed for the Bowflex Max Trainer. The Max Intelligence app takes users through an initial fitness assessment, tracks and collects workout data and uses predictive analytics to learn users’ capabilities and truly personalize each workout experience with tablet video content. Along the way, users receive voice instruction and encouragement from their personal fitness coach, “Max.”
Maurice White, a senior consultant in Samsung’s Solutions Innovations team, worked closely with Nautilus to enable them to deploy sophisticated software without assuming undue burdens.
“The Bowflex Experience app provides the capability to give the end user any of the applications they need for any of the Nautilus machines, with updates delivered through a Google Play services integration that is architected in,” he said. “Developers update new versions in Google Play, and the user gets a notification saying it is time to update their app. Nautilus does not have to be in the business of managing the tablets.”
Faster Device Setup for Nautilus and Better Engagement for Customers
After a year working with Samsung, Nautilus has already seen the value of the partnership, including these significant results:
1. Time/cost savings: Nautilus procures tablets directly from Samsung Business Services. The devices are already associated with the Knox Configure profile, so once Nautilus turns them on, they automatically download the profile and configure themselves. “By leveraging Knox Configure, the setup of the device drops from 11 to 13 taps on the screen, down to three per device,” said Petroski. “If you’re rolling out 50,000 devices, that’s a lot of time savings — not to mention the steps it would take to deploy users’ experience manually to the tablets.”
2. Improved customer satisfaction: When Nautilus asked customers about their decision to purchase the Bowflex HVT+, versus the base model without the Samsung tablets, 81 percent reported being “happy” with their choice. “Customers feel like it’s a service,” said Julia Eschman, director of customer experience at Nautilus. “The branded tablet makes the machine easier to use, and it’s a more cohesive experience. It truly feels like a dedicated device, because it’s customized to live alongside our products.”
3. Increased sales: One-third of the people who purchase the Bowflex HVT trade up to the premium model. Brotherton believes the new Bowflex Experience app will also increase sales. “As consumers go through setup and select their machine, they’ll be exposed to our full line of products. It’s just the first of many opportunities to introduce cardio to strength consumers and vice versa. We’re finding that in all cases, with the tablet-offered products, people are mixing them up more than we expected. That’s why we’re adding them across our product line.”
4. Better app engagement: “Before we had Knox Configure, we were leaving it up to the user to search for, download and install our apps,” says Eschman. “We know that our customers are busy and don’t want to deal with complexity, and many weren’t using our apps. It doesn’t seem like a big thing, but those couple of steps are often just enough to keep people from using it.”
5. Agile innovation: “Knox Configure helps us be more nimble, flexible and faster to market,” says Wes Citti, digital product line manager at Nautilus. “A month is a million years in software development. By using Knox Configure for testing and deployment, we can start getting feedback right away. Then we can quickly update algorithms or make copy changes, without necessarily needing a new app update.”
Quatrochi says this is just the beginning of Nautilus’ work with Samsung. “The tablets and Knox Configure are where we started, but it’s not why we’ve remained strategic partners. Samsung’s expertise and ability to bring the right people together is why we’re strategic partners. Our goals for the future are predicated on our focus on personalization, and there are many opportunities with Samsung to do that. This started off as a supplier agreement, and it has completely evolved into changing the world of fitness.”