New dance mat is sweeping UK

The Bolton News: Glen Jones of Cyber-Coach Glen Jones of Cyber-Coach

A BOLTON-based company is hotfooting its way to success with a dance mat system aimed at adults and children.

Quick Controls makes Cyber-Coach, a programme developed for aerobics classes in gyms.

But its fitness potential has been spotted by schools, and in just 12 months 100 systems have been snapped up.

The system has been so successful that the company, based in Tonge Moor, has outsourced assembly to a bigger factory in Wrexham. The sales team and headquarters are still based in Bolton.

Cyber-Coach uses an interactive dance mat and video instructors and offers a range of games, dances and exercise routines.

The dance mat has become the first leisure product to be shortlisted for a BETT Award in the education sector.

The awards help identify innovative technological products for the education sector.

Ron Jones, chief executive of Quick Holdings said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for a BETT Award.

“This is testament to all the hard work that the team at Cyber-Coach has put in to deliver a product that is suitable for use in a wide variety of settings.”

Mr Jones and his son Glen are the brains behind the new system which they say is on target to double its sales next year.

The company is projected to sell around 250 units and achieve turnover of £1.8 million in the 2009-10 financial year.

Glen Jones trained as a patent attorney — a useful background when it came to filing the international patent for the dance mat.

“I am a hands-on person and I like technology. I have been working all hours assembling the dance mats and have not had a day off for months.

“The original company was set up by my dad to supply touch screens for well known names like John Lewis, Orange and Ericsson.

“We have been doing touch screens for years for various clients but we see Cyber-Coach as they way forward.”

The dance mat system still uses a touch screen to select games and formats and is especially successful in persuading reluctant teenage girls to start exercising. Glen added: “The initial idea was for adult aerobics classes in gyms.

"If the instructor failed to turn up for the class Cyber-Coach could step in and fill the gap. We have top aerobics instructors, dance and combat instructors, who are filmed and then projected on to a screen and the class follows what they teach.”

One school spotted the potential for children’s exercise and soon many other schools heard about it and bought the system.

The dance mat system, using several mats wirelessly connected, projectors, touch screens and software can cost anything between £6,000 to £16,000 but the price has not put schools off.

For schools there are a variety of activities offered for the dance mats including aerobics,combat games, disco dancing, salsa, Bollywood dancing, street dance, bodypopping, tai chi and yoga.

The dance mat system is used at Canon Slade school in Bradshaw, Bolton.

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