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

Anjali Lai

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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