Precor launched an upgraded version of its Experience Series cardio equipment and its Preva networked management system last week at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association trade show in San Francisco. Club operators now can choose from three console options for the Experience Series—the P80, P30 and P20.

All three consoles offer new aesthetics and functionality. The P80 features a robust, commercial-grade capacitive touch screen—similar to screens used for other high-use commercial purposes, including bank ATMs and airport check-in terminals. The capacitive screen also allows users to perform “gesture motions,” such as sweeping across different screens in the same way that users can control high-end phones and entertainment devices.

The P30 and P20 are not touch screens. However, the P30 features elements of the P80, including the new motion controls that enable exercisers to perform frequent functions, such as adjusting speed and incline. The P20 offers an entry-level console that is suitable for operators who want only the essential functions.

“Seventy percent of users use quick start, which introduces no variety to their workout,” says Brent Brooks, vice president of networked fitness at Precor, Woodinville, WA. To combat the tendency to simply hit the quick start button, Precor has included a workout of the day on the P80 console, which has already been in use at several clubs in the Woodinville area. The majority of those users are no longer hitting quick start but the workout of the day instead, he says.

The P80 console features an Ethernet connection, which allows for a networked fitness experience. Certain connected benefits are now available on the products, but Brooks says that Precor will continually develop and launch additional applications to benefit users and club operators.

The new consoles are the culmination of more than three years of research and development by Precor. In late 2007, Precor established a Seattle-based research laboratory where a broad range of exercisers were analyzed and consulted on exactly what they desired from their workout experience.

Out of that laboratory also came Precor’s Preva networked fitness platform, which works behind the scenes so club operators can view the status of their equipment online. Club operators not only can see which equipment is in use and which equipment needs attention, but they also can view the odometer reading for each, which allows them to better manage placement and maintenance.

Preva also allows operators to put messages on the machine—perhaps about limiting usage time during peak hours or promoting group exercise classes.