As a company, our goal has always been to make health easy for our customers. And when the pandemic hit, we were even more determined to keep that promise, because we knew that it would be an integral part of their lives. And so, we introduced cult.live classes, which allowed our users to workout from the comfort of their own homes. The classes included many of the same formats we already had at our centres alongside some exciting, new, tech-based features!
During this process, many of our users have wondered how we managed to transition from a physical fitness centre to an online one — almost overnight! While the details of the process might be complex and technical, we’ve broken it down for those who want a peek behind the curtains, and glimpse into how we add features to our app.
On paper, offering live classes might look like an easy task, but doing it for millions of our customers is actually a huge technological challenge. We had to find a way to organise thousands of simultaneous live sessions while making sure that the video streamed perfectly — with no delays! This journey was not without its unique challenges, but that allowed us to face those challenges, overcome them, and eventually come up with a host of unique features and functionalities that now make our live classes stand out from the rest.
Here are some of the top challenges we faced and how we tackled them
- Dealing with geographical and therefore, infrastructural challenges: Given that most users in India have low- to medium-end phones, we had to consider that these devices should also be able to give a great live workout experience. It initially seemed like a herculean task, but thanks to our brilliant experts and the technological tools we had at our disposal, we were able to find a solution to most of these problems. Now, we operate effortlessly even in smaller towns with low internet bandwidth.
- To be able to cater to a variety of users with different devices: We first looked at every smart device available in the market. We then used AI models as a tool to simulate the live session experience on each of these devices to understand what kind of issues might crop up while streaming on different devices and resolved them. Soon, we will be going to international markets and this process will only intensify — we’re gearing up for that!
- Streaming videos without breaks: The primary goal of every video streaming platform, regardless of the industry, is to stream videos without breaks, pauses, or buffering. This feature is typically hard to achieve in a country like India, where the network quality keeps fluctuating. To improve the experience for our customers, we did a lot of research and ran multiple experiments to figure out the right settings and optimizations that we believed most other live-streaming platforms might not have. The result? We were able to reduce buffering by almost 70%!
- Standing out amongst other fitness apps and user-generated content on popular sites: With multiple free fitness tutorials and videos on YouTube, Instagram, and even other popular apps, we had to find a differentiator. The one thing that both our customers and trainers loved about classes at our centres was the same thing that posed the biggest challenge during our live classes — Interactivity. We knew that live classes wouldn’t work in the long run unless the entire experience was immersive enough. So we spent hours brainstorming, experimented with a few functionalities, interacted with a large number of customers and finally came up with a novel feature that would make the online live classes far more user-friendly and unique — the Energy Meter. This has rapidly grown to be one of the most liked features of our app!
- Identifying and resolving issues proactively: This is a core part of the cure.fit culture — seeking feedback. By getting detailed feedback from customers at the end of every session, we were able to identify any issues that the customers faced and quickly addressed it before their next session with us.
Though it was an immense challenge, our team had a great time putting the live classes feature together and we managed to get brilliant results from our efforts as well. In fact, today we can handle over 100,000 users parallelly!
Ultimately, we’re happy that we’ve taken this pandemic and its impact into consideration and helped our customers stick to their workout goals — something that’s challenging even under normal circumstances. But we hope our live classes can help people stay home, stay safe, and, above all, stay healthy!
If you are a tech enthusiast and would like to know more about how we managed to achieve all this, we will have another blog shortly, that into details out the architecture of the live classes and how we managed to meet the sudden demand surge thanks to the lockdown. Keep watching this space!