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Whatever business you're involved in, an all-connected, always-on world of devices seems destined to affect your marketing or online strategy in some way. At the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas this week — that candy store for technology lovers formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show — attendees are getting a chance to sample the impact of this Internet of Things (IoT).

We'll examine different areas of the technology throughout the week. Today, we're kicking off our coverage with an overview of what's changing the landscape, moving the IoT from a thing people wonder about to the one thing everyone needs to understand and maximize to their advantage.

Getting Smarter All the Time

Smart or connected devices represent the evolution of mobile and web technology. Both processing and communications features are invading innumerable items, rapidly expanding the IoT — and enabling the recording and transmitting of data to open up new areas of business opportunities.

At CES, attendees can see everything from residential power managers and  better connected cars to wireless-enabled wearable devices and personal health tools that help users incorporate data acquisition into myriad aspects of daily life. 

Some of these products have been gestating for years, long before the term Internet of Things was coined. (According to Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), the term "Internet of Things" dates to around, the time when more “things or objects” were connected to the Internet than people.)

But you know a trend is going mainstream when cookware and even family pets get in on the act with connected collars.

Like it or fear it, all of these devices create new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers. Some are already taking a foothold in consumers' lives, while others are just bursting out of the blocks, creating a new world of possibilities.

Connecting for Business

The takeaway for business is simple:  The IoT offers a lot of direct revenue generation opportunities. A set of traditional golf clubs may retail for $700. But throw in a sensor like the SmartSwing, that shows the golfer the imperfections in his swings through a smartphone app, and the manufacturer can boost the price another $250 or so.

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You can bet a connected kitchen appliance will cost a more than a standard model ... and the higher price will more than offset the cost of adding the sensor. What kind of devices? Well, this week, Belkin introduced the WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot, the first smartphone controllable slow cooker.