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Life Fitness

Today's fitness equipment can track your heart rate, count calories and sync with smartphones and fitness trackers. Now Life Fitness is taking things a step further by harnessing data and wireless technology to help gym owners keep their cardio machines up and running.

The company now offers a remote monitoring service called LFconnect Protect that analyzes equipment diagnostics in real time and notifies gym owners of any maintenance issues it discovers.

"We track data [wirelessly], collect it online and analyze certain sets of data points," says Amad Amin, senior digital product manager at Life Fitness.

The company tracks its equipment by location and serial number. Sensors can detect an anomaly in a machine's data before it breaks down. Members of a monitoring team first try to correct problems remotely on their own or over the phone. If those measures aren't successful, a technician is sent to fix the problem before the machine breaks down.

The Illinois Valley YMCA in Peru, Ill., pilot-tested seven Life Fitness machines equipped with the technology for more than a year. Early on, one of the new machines alerted Life Fitness that something was wrong, even though it seemed to be working fine, and a technician was sent to fix the problem.

The service "definitely maximizes our investment," says Illinois Valley YMCA COO Mike Wallaert, noting that tuneups that take less than 30 minutes can prevent breakdowns that in the past would have kept machines out of service for a few days.

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