In the strange world of the Pack, the bikes are connected are worth 4 billion

This is not sport, it is an "experience". This are not teachers, they are "coaches". Most of all, this is not a bike to appartment: it is a Platoon. In a fe

In the strange world of the Pack, the bikes are connected are worth 4 billion

This is not sport, it is an "experience". This are not teachers, they are "coaches". Most of all, this is not a bike to appartment: it is a Platoon. In a few years, this american company has conquered the living area of hundreds of thousands of Americans through its fitness equipment to be connected to. Every day, customers pedal in front of a screen that broadcasts sports courses conducted live from a gym in New York. Instructors, who have access to the data of their race, encourage and pedal with them. This is the "magic" of the Pack, and especially the secret of its economic model, at the crossroads of many trends online: the live video, the influencers, the data collection and the sports connected. Today, the valuation of the company is estimated at more than $ 4 billion. It counts among its investors NBCUniversal or TCV, known to have already bet on Facebook or Netflix. Hugh Jackman, Kate Hudson and Ellen DeGeneres love their bikes. Squad is now preparing its ipo, expected before the end of the year 2019.

"Better than Jane Fonda in leggings"

Pack sells two types of sport equipment: bikes and treadmills. Their main argument is not to be cheap. You will need at least 2245 dollars (about 2000 euros) to acquire the first, and 4295 (3800 euros) for the second. Add to this price, already a result, of the subscription to the course video (from $ 39 per month). These are mandatory if we want to use the devices, and take advantage of the so-called "experience Curve". All the bikes and treadmill races are as well equipped with a touch screen, a camera and a microphone.

"Platoon is the most important thing that happened in the world of sport at home since Jane Fonda in leggings", writing in Fortune magazine in reference to the VHS gym, the american actress, very popular in the 80's. The comparison has nothing of a joke. The engineering Platoon has been wet on the mode of course bikes inside (themselves repopularisés by the american society SoulCycle in the years 2010) and to combine two things that viewers love: live video and influencers. Its course - some pre-recorded, others are live - are conducted by instructors of elite". These are the stars of the Peloton. They each have a personal record on the website of the company, where their personality is put forward in the same way as their performance in sports. Ally Love has an entrepreneur "who loves donuts", Robin Arzon is a former lawyer who likes to "redefine and rethink all possible thanks to the movement of the body". Alex Toussaint, his mantra is "feel yourself in your body, am beautiful, am better". The majority of the professors of the Pack have an account with Instagram and pages on Facebook. Some claim hundreds of thousands of subscribers to the counter.

The course of the Pack are suitable for all levels of athletes, and are regularly renewed according to certain themes: the users can pedal in honor of Thanksgiving, the market prides, or simply to follow a session "karaoke epic", by pedaling to the sound of the greatest hits from the american pop. Everything is made to never annoy the user, and encourage him to ride his bike every day. Pack says and its bikes are used an average of 13 times per month. You can also consult other courses without a camera of the trademark, thanks to his service Squad Digital, a kind of Netflix for sport classes at home.

Data galore

The other strength of the Pack is its exploitation of the data. Users are given information on their performance in sports, in real time and over time. They are encouraged to advance their figures: the number of days in a row where they have done the sport, the number of training and accumulated hours on his bike, the distance travelled in total, the number of calories burned. Each course gives rise to a "podium," where are placed the most outstanding students. Some may even qualify for a "shoutout", where a teacher yells their name to encourage them or congratulate them. In short, the Platoon made the effort sports performance social and digital, in the same way that harvest the "likes" on social networks. "I'm a gamer and I am completely addicted to my Platoon," wrote, last year, a reporter from the site of Motherboard. "It is, ultimately, a video game fitness, where I'm constantly trying to improve my numbers." In passing, Peloton, specified in its terms of use that it collects all this information to improve its service, but also for marketing, advertising and for its trading partners. But promises that the camera and the mic are equipped with their bikes can only be used if they are "activated by the user, for example, take a profile picture or make a call to another user".

"Wait, since all this time you bassinez with a bike that is spying on you?"

With the success came many insults. The devices are criticized for their questionable practices in terms of privacy. Their users are compared to the members of the sect and their demands ridiculed, because they do not appreciate the music "naze" released in their courses, or that they complain of the presence of an athlete making faces in front of the camera. In April, a user of the social network Twitter has published an email from his father, who forbade her outright buy one of these devices. "Frankly, buy a Platoon, it is a sign from God that some people have too much money," he wrote. Another user has experienced a popularity of the ephemeral by parodying the ads of the company, showing the sport of cycling in luxurious apartments.

"I know that Squad wants to say, a group of cyclists in French, but I still prefer pedaling alone in the guest room of our mansion in Los Angeles"

If Platoon attracts criticism, it is also because she represents a certain class of business, only designed for the rich, with expensive products and often unnecessary, symbolizing a way of life centered around the well-being at any price. Another example of this phenomenon is the site Goop, founded by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, selling a variety of products for the "better life", ranging from food supplements to eggs in jade to enhance his sexual life. It is also a source of countless funeries on the social networks. Or also the case of Juicero, the start-up that promised to "revolutionize" the lives of its users with machines with fruit juices sold $ 700. Despite this skepticism, the Platoon continues its progression. The company will soon open its first studio in London to broadcast live courses to its future european users. We have not finished pedaling. Or we mock it.

Updated Date: 02 June 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees


Contact Details

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.