Local business owner Terry McDaniel may operate a relatively small gym as compared to other local fitness facilities, but what he lacks in space, he makes up for by incorporating the latest technology.
"As a small business owner it is critical for me to invest in cutting edge technology in the very competitive fitness industry," McDaniel said. "Bigger companies have more money for advertising and investment in technology and if you do not keep up or find ways to use technology to run your small business better then they do, then at some point you will fall behind."
McDaniel opened his 24 hour gym, Xtreme Fitness, on Highway 80 West in 2002 after graduating from Georgia Southern. The former GSU soccer player changed the name of the facility in 2006 to Xzorbit® Fitness. McDaniel has established the name as a United States trademark, and is currently selling 24 hour fitness franchises under his new Xzorbit Fitness brand. McDaniel said it is critical that he incorporate new technologies to streamline his operations while providing the best possible fitness experience that he can to his clients.
"It is my philosophy that you have to be creative and think of ways to utilize the latest innovations to create a better experience for your customers than what bigger companies are already providing," McDaniel said. "You cannot copy bigger companies, you just have to come up with ideas that they have not already thought of or tried and implement those new ideas before they do."
McDaniel said he tries to stay ahead of his competition through technological innovation.
"Even though I am in Statesboro rather than Atlanta or some other big city, I like to think of ways to run my 24 hour gym better than what is already considered to be the best out there," he said. "Usually the ideas I come up with involve technology in some fashion."
McDaniel has incorporated several technologies into the day-to-day operation of his gym including card access control systems, digital camera systems, bio-metric access control systems (iris readers), touch free bathroom components and trash cans, virtual PBX phone systems, personal viewing systems, an internet kiosk software system, and an interactive website, Xzorbit.com.
"When I opened in 2002, my members entered with a card, now most of them enter the gym with there own fingerprint, and by mid July 2007, my members will be able to enter via there own eyes through an Iris Recognition System," he said. "Members will not have to worry about keeping up with an entry card nor will they have difficulty entering the gym because their fingerprint is roughed up or dry."
Bob Taggart, owner of T2 Fitness, an Atlanta based distributor of gym equipment, has been a supplier of McDaniel's since the opening of his gym.
"What I have seen is bigger facilities spending the kind of money to put the systems in that Terry has," Taggart said. "What Terry is doing is very unusual, very innovative, and very cutting edge. For example, I can't think very many gyms, if any, right now that are using the iris recognition technology to gain access to the their facilities."
Taggart said McDaniel has always been a forward thinker constantly working to implement his vision of what a modern gym should be.
"I have never seen anybody who owns a facility work so hard on it," Taggart said. "Right now, Terry knows where he wants to be three years from now and he will be there. He told me three years ago that he was going to have certain technologies in place and he has met that goal."
McDaniel's brother, Bob McDaniel, has helped him install many of the systems that he is using in his gym today. McDaniel, also a GSU graduate and former soccer team member, works in the low voltage industry which encompasses equipment such as alarm systems and video surveillance.
"Terry is really geared towards customer service," Bob McDaniel said. "From the individual TV screens in front of each piece of cardio equipment to his website which has an on-line trainer, Terry has invested a lot of money in the latest that technology can bring to his gym and to his customers. I am amazed at what he has done."
Bob McDaniel said it isn't just convenience for the customer it is also safety and overhead reduction that his brother strives to improve upon.
"He is lowering his cost by going to the biometric iris scan reader which means he will not have to buy proximity cards to put through the card reader," McDaniel said. "From a safety prospective, people can't 'loan' out their access cards or get in on a lost card. It is a much safer means of entry for gym members."
Terry McDaniel is most excited about his website and the internet kiosk that he has placed in the gym."Members can us the gym internet kiosk and Digital Member Information System to check their email in the gym, use the Xzorbit.com site to print out a workout plan from their own personal online trainer, print out fitness articles, and renew their membership online all at the click of a mouse," he said. "They can do these things at home of course, but having the ability to do them while they are working out is just another means of providing more convenience."