The Internet of Things had a big year, but bigger things could be in store for it going forward. Things connected to the Internet first outnumbered people on earth in 2008, according to Cisco, but 2014 saw wider use, more ingenuity and stronger Internet connections. In other words, the IoT has existed for years, but is only just now scratching the surface of its potential.

"On a high level, 2014 was a year when we've begun feeling the universe [of IoT] will happen," Reza Kazerounian, Atmel's senior vice president, told EE Times. "We started to feel that IoT need to come together and it will eventually take off."

IoT can impact the workplace
For small businesses, the IoT can fundamentally alter internal and external operations. Internet-enabled devices can make it easier for employees to access information, print documents remotely and prepare meeting rooms for presentations. Additionally, consumers can use a broad variety of things to interface with businesses, make purchases and speak with representatives.

The IoT will also open up an entirely new industry focused on creating, servicing and improving devices for the consumer. Already, companies like Nest, Dropcam and Revolv gained enough notoriety to have been bought up by Google, according to Tech Hive. Innovators will be rewarded in this fast-moving economy that now values ideas more than ever.

Put the 'T' in 'IoT'
While the IoT is expanding, it is not necessarily limitless. The trouble isn't with Internet connectivity – rather, the things themselves might hit a wall, EE Times suggests. Some industry analysts believe security and privacy could hinder the IoT's progress, as individuals grow wary over who's on the other end of the connection.

With that said, such developments could also be another opportunity for companies to do business. IT and security organizations can work to provide solutions to the issues of data security and others. IoT developers can also work together to determine a framework of regulations so that the IoT does not become too unwieldy and dangerous.

In the meantime, companies can capitalize on the movement by furbishing the workplace with Internet-capable devices to allow easier access for their employees and better service for the clients.

Office technology industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in office technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.