The future of technology is often closer than many realize. New platforms are adopted gradually and changes unfold over time such that one has to take a few steps back to realize just how advanced our society has become. Already, individuals and companies have access to a world of information in their pockets, not to mention the ability to communicate with another person across the world and to set the thermostat at home from miles away.

The reason it's so easy to forget how far we've come is because there is still so much room left for growth. One platform that could still revolutionize the way businesses interact internally and externally is the Internet of Things. This interconnected network of devices can provide small businesses with a measure of flexibility and efficiency not yet seen.

"One has to take a few steps back to realize just how advanced our society has become."

The fledgling Internet of Things
While many companies have already implemented some version of the Internet of Things, the vast majority are still just in the experimental phase, according to a new survey from Gartner reported by BetaNews. An office will likely have a system of VoIP phones, an email account accessible through employee smart phones, a private WiFi network – a few basics of the IoT. But there is so much more to be done.

"Only a small minority have deployed solutions in a production environment. However, the falling costs of networking and processing mean that there are few economic inhibitors to adding sensing and communications to products costing as little as a few tens of dollars," Gartner Vice President Nick Jones explained in the survey. "The real challenge of the IoT is less in making products 'smart' and more in understanding the business opportunities enabled by smart products and new ecosystems."

That means companies have a ways to go before the IoT reaches its enormous potential – but also that it might arrive sooner rather than later.

The office is becoming a smarter place.The office is becoming a smarter place.

Four benefits of the IoT
​Once companies do unveil a comprehensive IoT-enabled office, there are several ways in which that company could reap the benefits, according to Smart Data Collective.

  1. Data: Devices can analyze data faster and more effectively than humans, picking out trends and projecting future needs.
  2. Location: Smart devices make tracking much simpler, allowing managers to easily consolidate inventory and examine the overall supply chain.
  3. Intuition: Offices with the IoT can prepare and predict employee needs as they arise, from readying presentation rooms to adjusting the thermostat as the seasons change.
  4. Growth: The IoT helps to level the playing field even further and will allow small businesses to compete on a global stage like never before.

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.