Home workout trends have evolved alongside technology, from videos on tape to streamed sessions incorporating biometrics monitoring. Developed with a data-centric approach to fitness, users refer to Tonal
as the world’s smartest home gym and personal trainer for good reason. The company is reimagining the modern at-home workout experience by offering strength training via a compact, wall-mounted device that adapts to meet each user’s fitness ability.
Launched in 2018, the Tonal strength-training system uses electromagnetic resistance to simulate various weights and dynamically adjusts throughout the workout based on the user’s performance and historical data. Video displays directly on the Android-based device, which also provides access to personal training sessions and recommended workouts. While content was initially only available on-demand because of the complexities of its unique workouts, Tonal is introducing live class options this fall. Rising interest from coaches and users spurred development of the new offering, which is made possible by managed live streaming service Amazon Interactive Video Service
Tonal Director of Content Engineering Scott White was up and running with Amazon IVS on day one, and within three days he had integrated with Tonal software. He shared, “When evaluating livestreaming service providers, Amazon IVS stood out for how it includes metadata in the stream. This feature is critically important for us to deliver Tonal’s signature workouts live, and we were able to figure out how to use it quickly. Our team already uses AWS services, like Amazon S3 for storage, so the process was very familiar; we just entered a couple keys, hit the API, and we were up and running.”
Unlike mapping storyboards for cardio-focused workouts, delivering live strength training workouts requires a more nuanced approach, since timing often varies. As users progress through sets, they may tire or need a water break; the Tonal design accounts for these points of unpredictability. To ensure participants stay engaged and motivated, relevant data appears on screen, such as feedback on their form, when they met a goal, when they set new personal records (PRs), and encouragement from fellow class members as emoji-like kudos. Using Amazon IVS and harnessing its metadata capabilities, Tonal preserves and translates all the elements of its personalized workouts into the live format. Once complete, Tonal adds the recording of the live workout to the on-demand archive.
Before rolling out the new feature widely, Tonal previewed live workouts with a select group of users and received enthusiastic feedback around the interactive element. Noted White, “Our beta testers loved getting to see the proper form and pace of each exercise with the instructor in real time, and felt motivated to push harder in their workouts.”
In fine-tuning the integration, the Tonal team collaborated with the Amazon IVS service team to help navigate Tonal’s unique livestream implementation. As an example, Tonal’s wall mounted device required a 9×16 portrait mode display versus the standard 16×9 landscape format. “The Tonal device screen is orientated to portrait mode, so the stream needed to be delivered in that format at the right resolution to provide a good customer experience,” White explained. “We had excellent support from the Amazon IVS team, and that helped make for a very smooth integration process.”
Like the on-demand classes, Tonal streams live workouts from a well-equipped production studio. Coaches focus on demonstrating movements and leading workouts from their own Tonal stations, and producers, who monitor incoming data from user systems, feed them data-informed cues from user systems, such as milestones or PR achievements. Producers also track workout progress and inject timed metadata into the stream when the coach transitions to a new movement, keeping the Tonal systems and livestream in sync, and advising the system of where users are in the workout routine.
“With Amazon IVS, we’ve translated the Tonal experience–delivering personalized strength training though intelligent technology–into a live group setting, quickly, reliably and ready to scale,” White concluded.