Is the Peloton Guide the next big thing in fitness?

During the pandemic, Peloton sales soared as the signature exercise bikes and treadmills brought people to the gym virtually. Now, Peloton is introducing the Peloton Guide, a media streaming device that it hopes will bring the gym into your home.

Peloton Guide is a body tracking camera that observes and tracks your strength training. You simply mount it on your TV, frame the workout area in the viewfinder, turn on a strength training class, and you’ll see not only the Peloton trainer on your screen, but your live stream as well. As you follow the workout, the Guide will monitor your repetitions, your form and movements and guide you through sets during the workout.

What makes the Guide different?

In addition to being a virtual exercise monitor, the Peloton Guide also uses an artificial one

intelligence to analyze the images and biometric data it collects, tracking your progress over time and noting which parts of your body work harder than others. The Guide then uses that analysis to track your workouts and progress, from which it can recommend Peloton classes and workouts that are best suited for your weight training goals.

It should be noted that, in this age of privacy concerns, Peloton says that all data collected in the Guide remains “on the device.” That’s a data-slicing way of saying that the information the AI ​​collects is processed, analyzed and stored in the Guide itself, not in some remote data center or remote cloud computer. Peloton notes that while your image and video data remains on the Guide device, the company collects metadata, such as when you worked out, the classes you attended and the repetitions you completed. However, according to Wired magazine, one draft of Guide’s privacy policy notes that it will “collect biometric data that uniquely identifies you, such as visual details about your face and body (face and body scans) and voiceprints. This information can be recorded by Peloton Guide equipment or uploaded by you.”

From a fitness industry perspective, the Guide is Peloton’s latest attempt to expand its footprint—and subscriber base—to home fitness. This is important because sales of Peloton’s stationary bikes have fallen to the point where the company has shut down production. The company was forced to recall its treadmills due to the risk of injury or death. And Peloton is bleeding money, the company recently installed new management and laid off nearly 3,000 employees in the process.

Will AI body tracking boom or bust?

So, without the pandemic mandating people to stay at home, is the Peloton Guide the next big thing in fitness or just another neat fitness device? That’s just one of the many questions surrounding the Guide.

Granted, at under $300, the Guide is much more affordable than a Mirror or Tonal home gym. But is the price of the Guide device, plus a monthly subscription, attractive enough to get consumers to give up gym memberships and personal trainers for virtual strength training at home? Furthermore, will the limited strength training offered through the Peloton guide and classes be enough to get people to work their way through the vast array of weights and equipment offered by most gyms and fitness centers?

Will consumers be happy with a streaming camera that may or may not collect their data? Or is one’s privacy a small price to pay for the convenience of virtual strength training at home?

Finally, there are already many fitness tracking apps out there. Will the Peloton Guide stand out enough to encourage consumers to spend more to step up their fitness game? And even if they do, can Peloton make the Guide experience one that will keep consumers interested?

In time, we will know the answers to all these questions and more. But for now, Peloton is betting big on body tracking to expand its brand footprint and subscriber base. Ultimately, the performance and popularity of the Peloton Guide will determine whether that bet pays off.

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