What happens when everyday items—everything from your thermostat to your home’s front door—are connected to the internet? That’s increasingly becoming a reality that now has a name all its own: The Internet of Things. But what does this mean for both large and small businesses, and what can they do to take advantage of it?

These are just a few of the questions that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is exploring with its initiative, “The Internet of Everything.” Drawing on some of the industry’s leading voices, the project includes more than 30 essays on a variety of topics related to the subject.

Unsure about how the Internet of Things will affect you personally? Well, if you one day envision yourself cruising around in a self-driving car, you’ll be benefiting from the Internet of Things. Indeed, the technology underpinning driverless cars has the ability to transform R&D as we know it. The Foundation explains in an essay, “Driving Into a Connected Future—How Data Is Changing the Auto Industry,” from the Internet of Everything project:

“As cars gain access to more data about their environments from information fed to them via vehicles’ sensors and cameras, the Internet, global positioning satellite systems, and other systems, they will be able to become more autonomous—including the capability to take partial or complete control of the driving task. Automated cars have numerous safety and environmental benefits. The U.S. National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) estimates that around 94% of crashes are caused by driver error. The more autonomous capability hits the road, the more that crash rate is expected to go down.

Automated vehicles have other advantages as well. As NHTSA outlined in its Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles in 2013, “Vehicle control systems that automatically accelerate and brake with the flow of traffic can conserve fuel more efficiently than the average driver. By eliminating a large number of vehicle crashes, highly effective crash avoidance technologies can reduce fuel consumption by also eliminating the traffic congestion that crashes cause every day on our roads. Reductions in fuel consumption, of course, yield corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Intrigued? Then check out The Internet of Everything, where you can learn even more about how this emergent industry is transforming everything from healthcare and business, to government and transportation.