Cycling to Your Favourite Tunes in Virtual Reality
VirZOOM partners up with Feed.fm to provide personalized music tracks to help users pedal through those virtual miles.
VR Fitness is fast becoming a big deal, and there are many apps out there that use the unique immersive capabilities of the medium to take make exercising more fun.
Arguably the most successful of those has been the fitness bike experience provided by VirZOOM, which grabbed headlines with amazing results such as helping this guy lose 50 pounds. Since then, VirZOOM struck a partnership with Life Fitness to bring its VR Fitness Solution to commercial health clubs including YMCA wellness centers in the United States and Pure Fitness in Asia with many more expected to come in 2018.
“VirZOOM workouts utilize virtual reality to motivate the user to move… and it’s fun! Everyone can relate to watching 30 minutes slowly countdown on their boring cardio workout… Unlike other methods to distract you, the immersive quality of VR brings the user to a different setting where they are motivated to pedal in VirZOOM games. VirZOOM content gets you moving and keep you moving,” says Spencer Honeyman, VP of Strategic Partnerships at VirZOOM.
Indeed, VirZOOM boasts pretty impressive user engagement stats, with average session times clocking in at 38.5 minutes and active users playing over three times per week. But they’re not resting on their laurels, instead trying to figure out ways to make pedalling through virtual worlds ever more addictive. Which is where their partnership with Music-as-a-Service platform Feed.fm comes in.
“There is a long history of research around music and how it impacts motivation during a workout. We find that including tracks people know and love really upgrades the whole experience,” says Jeff Yasuda, CEO and co-founder of Feed.fm.
The idea is that music expertly curated and DJ’d can significantly improve and optimize the overall fitness experience. It makes sense that music helps us work out better by distracting us from fatigue and pumping us up, but with activities such as cycling, having the right music can also help towards improving pedal rhythm, for example. And Feed.fm argues that they are better placed to provide personalized and curated tracks that help users get that just right.
“Providing anyone who wants a killer workout with an experience that is actually fun and motivating — that’s brilliant,” says Yasuda. His San Francisco-based company is already working with brands like Fitbit Coach, MoveWith, ClassPass, ASICS, DailyBurn and the LA Marathon to integrate popular music in their workout experiences. And that, he says, is one of the factors that gives them the edge against services like Spotify or Pandora.
“Those services provide background music for physical experiences, whereas Feed.fm is focused on music wherever consumers consume it digitally. Whether it’s in a mobile app, via connected speakers in home, or working out via VR exercise games,” he explains, adding that their in-house curation team compiles mixes based on the consumer insights from their partners, and through a combination of direct label deals and leveraging the blanket deals for Internet radio, are are able to offer partners like VirZOOM a massive catalogue at a lower rate than if they were to go to labels directly.
“When it comes to immersive and motivational virtual reality fitness, VirZOOM provides an experience like no other. By adding popular music for our customers through Feed.fm, our experiences, sounds and calorie counts will be hard to beat,” said Eric Malafeew, CTO and Co-Founder at VirZOOM.
At the end of the day, anything that helps to keep those new year’s resolutions going past February has to be a good thing.
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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.
Originally published at Tech Trends.