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Case Studies – Rugged Interactive

October 26th 2020

"Future Space is really perfect for our needs. The professional networking opportunities are invaluable and have provided excellent links for us, resulting in our collaboration with AHSN" - Harry Stevens, Rugged Interactive.

Rugged started with founder, Simon Heap’s simple principle that fitness is too important to be boring. Simon had been working as a consultant with UK Sport, designing products for their Olympic teams. As a result of working alongside elite athletes, Simon was motivated to create fun, interactive products that would make fitness accessible to everyone. Starting with the CardioWall in 2009, Simon and the team have dedicated their work to innovating new and exciting products to motivate everyone to get moving, regardless of their age or ability.

We caught up with Cath Forte from Rugged Interactive to give us some insight into Rugged Interactive and their journey so far.

Who’s on the team?

Our HQ is in Bodmin, Cornwall, where all of our products are designed and built. The Bodmin factory is a hotbed of innovation and activity – with competitive team members going above and beyond to build and test (and beat each other’s’ scores) on all our products. Here at Future Space, the sales and marketing team are busy making sure our customers find out all about our fantastic product range, and, of course, ensuring they get their orders on time.

What do you do?

Our products have a wide appeal and we are working in five main industry sectors around the world:

  • Active Fun – think trampoline parks, family entertainment centres, indoor adventure parks, etc.
  • Youth & Education – our CardioWalls are widely used in schools across the country.
  • Fitness & Sport – our interactive products are a feature piece in many gyms, including that of boxing champion, Anthony Joshua!
  • Rehab & Wellness – mental health and wellbeing are a particular focus for us right now. We have a special project currently underway, in conjunction with the NHS and Anna Freud Centre in a school in Gloucestershire, focusing on improving mental health and wellbeing in young people.
  • Healthy Ageing – another key area for Rugged, we have CardioWalls installed in retirement villages for the residents to use as part of their fitness and wellbeing programs. They’ve proved so popular; one resident was overheard saying, ‘I will tie myself to it if they try to take it away!’

Why is it important?

The link between physical and mental health cannot be emphasized enough – at Rugged we believe that the key to keeping people fit and active is to make it fun. Our aim is to get people moving, enjoying and socializing with one another through gamification – essentially fitness in disguise!

What you are working on right now?

Although, like many businesses, we have felt the impact of the corona virus pandemic, we have used our time incredibly productively to look into new market sectors and create a brand new website. Watch this space for our imminent launch.

CardioWall

What has been your biggest accomplishment?

Owing to our location at Future Space, we have had the good fortune to work with fellow residents, West of England Academic Health Science Network, on our SmartGym project in Gloucestershire.

The project aims to improve young people’s mental health and resilience through a training programme that includes our reaction wall product and the building of executive functions. Results from the study will be available in early 2021, and although we can’t say too much about this at the moment, we are hoping to have a significant impact on the mental and physical health of the young people involved in this project.

What have you had most fun doing at Rugged Interactive?

Personally, I am just coming up to my one-year anniversary at ‘Team Rugged’. Despite the lockdown disruptions, I have had an amazing first year with the company and really enjoy being a member of the Rugged family. I particularly like how everyone gets involved in all aspects of the business and how all opinions are valued equally. I also love how we get other members of the family involved in product testing – I have three daughters (a 13-year-old and 10-year-old twins) and we have been on several day trips to test out Rugged equipment in various venues, including a road trip to Swansea for some serious market research!

Why Future Space?

After what seemed like a lifetime of working from home for Commercial Director, Harry Stevens, and Sports Scientist, Lucy Manley, they took a tiny office in Future Space in 2017. Since then, Rugged’s commercial team has expanded to include several new members (myself included), so about a year ago we upgraded to a larger space. Future Space has excellent facilities, including the Hub, meeting rooms and well-stocked kitchenettes (super important for us, as we’re basically obsessed with drinking tea!). We’ve even used the reception area as a set for a corporate video (https://youtu.be/AzRZT6jks9w) – I wasn’t lying about our obsession with tea…

Harry Stevens, Commercial Director and Joint MD, commented "Future Space is really perfect for our needs. The professional networking opportunities are invaluable and have provided excellent links for us, resulting in our collaboration with AHSN."

"Location-wise, it’s easy to access by car and public transport – it practically has its own train station, being so close to Abbeywood! The team that run the building are incredibly efficient and always accommodating of our deliveries, meeting room bookings and visitor parking requests (even when they are last-minute!). It works well for visitors too with plenty of transport links nearby." 

Harry, Cath & Claudia drinking tea! (pre-lockdown)

What’s on the horizon for Rugged Interactive?

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, we have thrown ourselves into market research and are looking ahead to actively targeting all of the sectors noted above. While our main market has been Active Fun, the beauty of our product range is that we have relevance to many settings, so we have not needed to place all our proverbial eggs in one basket. We are especially excited about moving more into Rehab and Wellness, with a particular focus on the mental health benefits of being active; also on the Healthy Ageing sector where the CardioWall is poised to revolutionise the way older adults think about keeping fit! Exciting times for Team Rugged and I’m incredibly glad to be a part of it.

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