Fitness motion tracking: build in-house or buy a premade solution?
If you’re not familiar with fitness motion tracking, it’s pretty straightforward. A fitness motion tracker is added to your fitness platform and acts as a virtual trainer straight from the users’ webcam or phone. So whenever users exercise by watching on-demand videos, their repetitions are counted. The virtual trainer engages with them, motivates them, and corrects them if they make a wrong or incomplete movement.
What’s in it for me as a fitness platform, you might ask? Well, there are a few main reasons to be all-ears about the virtual trainer trend:
Multiple data points. This means that in addition to the data that you get from Apple Health, Samsung Health, or any other providers you have integrated with, you will get additional data that you can use for personalizing users’ experience even more.
Engagement growth by up to 3x. We promise you your users are going to love the virtual trainer. With all the exercise information and personalized recommendations, they won’t want to leave your platform at all. That means a distinctly lower churn rate and users turning into brand advocates!
Anything is possible! Whether you’re thinking about a viral fitness challenge or a simple fitness game or just want to check how your users are training — a virtual trainer does all that.
Now that you’re probably tempted to try it out (you can do it here, by the way), let’s discuss the ways of achieving it.
Building motion-tracking software in-house
Building in-house can be tempting for fitness platforms looking to incorporate motion tracking into their offerings. Building in-house has some benefits, such as complete control over the development process and the ability to customize the software to fit specific needs.
However, there are also downsides to building in-house, such as the high cost of development and the potential for delays and setbacks. Based on our experience, in-house development based on open-source libraries takes at least 6 months to get a robust version and costs at least 100–200 thousand US dollars. In fact, a few fitness companies we talked to gave up developing in-house after 4–6 months and only started looking for external partners then.
Let’s not forget corner cases. There will be a lot of situations where your user exercises in a darker environment than usual, stands up at a different angle than you would expect, or faces their camera in a different direction. Those tiny little details are seen as bugs on the user’s side and highly influence whether they will use your platform further. All those small things take really up much time and effort, so even after developing the base, your team will have A LOT of work to do until the product actually becomes usable.
Corner cases usually include wrong camera angle, bad lighting; the user does not fit into the screen, standing in the wrong position, or having the wrong angle.
Moreover, building in-house means you will be responsible for maintaining and updating the software over time. This can be a challenge, as new features and capabilities are constantly being developed in the fitness industry, and keeping up with these changes can be time-consuming and expensive.
Let’s consider another option.
Buying from outside developers.
Buying a premade solution like FittyAI’s motion-tracking software offers several benefits. One of the most significant advantages is cost savings. Premade solutions are often significantly less expensive than building in-house, so you can invest your precious resources elsewhere.
Another advantage of buying a premade solution is the ease of implementation. With a premade solution, fitness platforms can quickly integrate motion tracking into their offerings without spending years developing the technology. This saves time and resources so you can get up and running with motion-tracking technology much faster. Keep in mind, though, that it depends on your selected provider. Some providers, while advertising that the implementation will take a few weeks, actually take up months, so do your research wisely.
Premade solutions like FittyAI’s software have another benefit — the provider continuously updates and maintains the software. This means the software is always equipped with the latest features and capabilities without additional spending on resources for maintaining and updating the software.
When it comes to incorporating motion-tracking technology into a digital fitness platform, there are two options: building in-house or using a premade solution. While building in-house may have its benefits, opting for a premade solution like FittyAI’s motion-tracking software is often the more cost-effective and practical choice. Not only do they have the solution that is already made and only needs to be adapted, but it also means that your team will be able to spend their time on other equally essential tasks like leveling-up UX or adding fitness content to the library.
Want to A/B test it for your fitness platform? Don’t hesitate to contact us; we can elevate your fitness platform to new heights together!