Whereas a visit to an indoor or open-air swimming pool or a spa was still an analogue pleasure in many places before the start of the corona pandemic, digitalisation of the bath industry has gained considerably more momentum since then. Equipment and information are becoming increasingly networked while swimming pool operation is becoming safer and more efficient thanks to remote maintenance and automation. In addition to better coordinated automatic processes, operators of swimming pools and saunas are primarily profiting from transparent data and more accurate sensors in real time. Costly maintenance of swimming pool technology, for example, is also becoming easier thanks to digital processes since the software can automatically detect trends in the system's behaviour by recording, storing and analysing the process data, and using optimisation algorithms.

Artificial intelligence (AI) as the focus of interest in the swimming pool and sauna industry : exhibitors will present digital innovations

The swimming pool of the future

"The most sustainable sports facilities are those which are used continuously at full capacity," said Christian Mankel, Managing Director of the German Association for the Recreational and Medicinal Bath Industry (DGfdB). "The swimming pool industry makes a distinction between operational and structural technical digitalisation components. Digital management systems can substantially optimise and simplify operational water area management. Systems to detect drowning persons are also in high demand and can be experienced at interbad." Especially in this area, AI provides valuable assistance in daily swimming pool supervision, for example through camera surveillance which can help to detect various difficult situations in a swimming pool. This is relieving the pressure on the swimming pool industry, which is suffering particularly from the increasing shortage of skilled workers.

Exhibitors present their solutions for future challenges ©Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH

Günther Pöllabauer, Managing Director of the Austrian company TAC, The Assistant Company, which specialises in the development of software solutions for spas, thermal baths and fitness clubs, believes that digitalisation offers operators clear advantages: "During the corona crisis and the ensuing reduction in swimming pool capacity, we noticed how important it is to have digital capacity utilisation systems. Thanks to these systems, the reduced capacity can be offered better in slots." At times of high occupancy, operators would also be able to optimise visitor flow control, for example through so-called yield management in which capacity availabilities and prices are aligned.

Ultimately, the digital transformation is also providing visitors with some advantages. "In particular, processes are becoming simpler and quicker for guests," said Pöllabauer. Access Control, a digitally networked entry assistance software, is an integrated solution for guest management with a cash desk and access control system. The all-in-one software covers everything from the purchase of tickets or vouchers, appointment booking for treatments and sun bed reservation through to cashless consumption and payment. Product innovations that benefit operators and visitors will be presented at interbad.

Digital innovations at interbad

Pöllabauer has high expectations of the trade fair: "interbad is the most important trade fair in the swimming pool industry in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Companies just have to go there if they want to keep up to date with trends and current developments and to present their products."

Alice Roosipuu, Head of Marketing at Saunum, an Estonian manufacturer of air-conditioning systems and ovens for saunas, is impressed by the innovative capacity of the exhibitors at interbad. "At Saunum we are always looking for ways to improve the sauna experience from different aspects. We have already registered two patents and applied for seven more. However, we believe that there are still many other innovation possibilities for saunas. We will therefore continue our research and tests to find new solutions which are even more efficient. Naturally, we will present some of these solutions at interbad."

Exhibitors and trade visitors discuss current topics such as digitalisation 4.0 ©Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH

The interbad Innovation Award also honours the high innovative capacity in the industry. It is jointly presented by Messe Stuttgart and the German Association for the Recreational and Medicinal Bath Industry (DGfdB). 

Visitors select, as a jury, their favourites among the products and services. Categories assessed are the degree of innovation, significance, practical applicability, improvement in the environmental and energy situation, design and functionality. Voting is possible both online by means of a specially created platform or on-site at digital voting terminals.

The next interbad will be held at Messe Stuttgart from 25 to 28 October 2022.