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Precor Touts World’s Largest Networked Fitness Installation

It might be tough to say which college has the “healthiest students” in the nation. But Arizona State University (USA) wants that reputation, and the school is leveraging technology to make it happen.

Precor, founded 32 years ago in Seattle and creator of the elliptical machine, announced today that ASU is using the company’s Preva networked fitness solution in a campus-wide effort to help students, faculty and staff be more healthy. With more than 300 pieces of networked equipment, Precor says it’s the largest networked fitness installation in the world — a sign of the growing significance of smart exercise equipment.

The company is making the announcement at CES in Las Vegas, where Precor will be participating for the first time, showing off its technologies to journalists and key players in the tech industry.

Precor’s appearance here is a “big milestone,” and part of the company’s ongoing evolution, said Brent Brooks, Precor’s VP of Networked Fitness. Precor says it’s aiming to make health and fitness more personal through connected exercise equipment and smartphone apps — ensuring a place for itself amid the larger boom in health-related apps, fitness tracking and the “quantified self” phenomenon.

“We feel we’re an important part of that growing ecosystem and we want to help enable experiences to leverage data we have available,” Brooks said.

The Preva system lets users set up their own accounts either on a Precor machine or through the Preva app. This lets them track their workouts, both inside the gym with the Preva-equipped devices or outside with the app.

That information can be uploaded to and stored in Microsoft HealthVault. ASU has already taken advantage of this new integration using competitions and contests that award students and staff depending on how much they workout and what goals they achieve. The data is also given to the Mayo Clinic and ASU researchers — depending on a user’s privacy settings — as a platform for obesity studies.

Precor, based in Woodinville, Washington, employs about 750 people worldwide, and the company wants to keep expanding into new areas of exercise technology. Ideas on the table include virtual reality workouts (such as having users run through a simulated Grand Canyon or busy city) or providing streaming music or video that adjusts automatically depending on the desired intensity of a workout.

This article was written by GeekWire staff reporter Taylor Soper  (follow on Twitter @Taylor_Soper), and  appeared online at GeekWire (follow GeekWire on Twitter @GeekWire).

For more on Precor click here.


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