I've spent the past 20 years passionately—relentlessly—chasing innovation. From the dawn of a magnificent digital universe born of the Internet, through the thrill of global conversations set ablaze by social media, to the magic of mobile's anytime-anywhere technology connecting an entire planet, I've reveled in the shock and awe of innovation.

And through each disruptive technology, I've watched executives make a critical choice: whether to transform their companies so as to build competitive advantage, or maintain their current course... and risk being among the fallen brands that fill the news headlines.

Now, as we shortly embark on 2014, we are at the threshold of yet another stunning revolution—and a unique turning point in history. Soon, for the first time, there will be more things than people connected to the Internet. From a forecast of 19 billion connected things in 2016 skyrocketing to an estimated 50 billion to 75 billion connected things by 2020.

In this coming era, the physical and digital worlds—realms that have always been separate and distinct—will collide, converge, and collaborate. Technology will breathe life into lifeless objects. Sensors will turn inanimate things into intelligent devices. And in our lifetime, over the course of but a handful of years, we will witness the static things that fill our environment spring to life all around us.

Computers will continue to be integrated into the devices we carry (like our smartphones, tablets, and phablets). Woven into the items we wear (as with Google Glass eyewear, smartwatches, and NFC-enabled rings). And embedded into the everyday objects we live alongside—the appliances in our homes, the shoes on our feet, the collars on our dogs, the pills from our pharmacies, the cars that we drive, the buildings where we work and the products in our supply chains.

Even the very notion of computers as separate things will become nonsensical... for they will very much live in all things.

But, wholly unlike the cautionary tales threaded throughout scores of sci-fi thrillers, these smart objects will not rise up and turn us into their indentured servants. On the contrary, they will give rise to systems that serve us by making our lives better, our bodies healthier, our work easier, and our brands superior.

From Smartphones... to Smart Everything

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Christina "CK" Kerley is a strategist, speaker, and trainer on innovation through mobile and smart technologies ("The Internet of Things"). Access her e-books and videos.

Twitter: @CKsays