The Data Digest: The Future Hits Home

When Ellen DeGeneres shined her spotlight on Nest’s “learning thermostat,” she was only foreshadowing the attention that the smart home device maker would soon receive. Google’s recent decision to acquire Nest Labs has sparked questions in the marketplace ranging from privacy concerns to marketing implications and everything in between.

But with these questions comes a recognition that the once-imagined future is less distant than we may think. A digitally enabled household no longer means simply maintaining a personal Internet connection or even syncing portable devices to a home network. Now, the digital home is becoming a conscious home — one that adapts and responds according to our behavior.

Cutting-edge devices like the smart thermostat might be low on the adoption curve today, but consumer appetite is evident. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that more than a third of US online adults are interested in using technology to remotely control their home’s lighting, energy, and security:

 

 

 

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The Data Digest: US Consumers Embrace Convergence Of The Physical And Digital

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times describes the unique beauty of ecotones, an environmental term for the border between two habitats where cultures merge — where forest meets grassland or water meets shore. According to the article, people are deeply attracted to these areas of convergence and interaction because the edge is where the action is. Like the periphery’s significance in ecology, the edges we create in our society generate energy and are the places we push things to for the best results — borders between diverse urban communities, schools of thought that intersect and cross-pollinate, and, now, our relationship with technology.

We are living in an ecotone where physical meets digital, where the edge of our offline experience converges with our online one. News from the International Consumer Electronics Show taking place this week provides a case in point. Rather than tablets or smartphones, the “next big thing” may be as unassuming as your morning coffee mug; the latest fashion may be modeling wearable technology.

Are we ready to live on the edge? Consumers say yes. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that a tenth or more of US online adults are interested in wearing sensor devices on their wrist, embedded into clothing, embedded in jewelry, or as glasses:

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