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When the theory of smart homes is in practice, typically, there’s an inbuilt flaw…

Many smart home devices operate on different platforms. Operating on various platforms and apps makes it difficult for devices to sync together. How do you overcome that? If This Then That (IFTTT)

Let’s say you want a thermostat and lights to turn on when you open your smart lock. You will need to create some form of workaround.

IFTTT helps make non-compatible devices sync together to provide even more convenience for your home. If you’re trying to pair non-compatible smart devices, that’s where IFTTT (If This, Then That) comes in, but what does it even mean?

If This, Then That: A Brief Background

IFTTT is a free service that helps create harmony between devices from disparate manufacturers. It can be web-based or used on both iOS and Android.

The name IFTTT becomes more evident when understanding the purpose of If This, Then That is to create conditional statements. These conditional statements are called applets.

Stripped down to the plainest possible English, if one thing happens… then another thing happens.

If you think about IFTTT outside of smart homes, the concept becomes instantly familiar. For example, applets can be triggered in one web service by something that takes place in another web service. Perhaps you tweet using a hashtag, and this triggers an applet that wings off an email. Tagging on Facebook can duplicate a photo and archive it for you. Applets can ensure your Facebook and Twitter profile pics stay in sync.

Created way back in late 2010 – a practical eternity in terms of smart technology – it wasn’t until June 2012 that IFTTT stormed its way into the Internet of Things, hooking up first with Belkin’s Wemo devices. Mid-2013 saw the iPhone app launched, followed in short order by an app for iPad. Less than a year later, the Android app was rolled out.

Before we start examining IFTTT in terms of smart home technology, we’ll quickly highlight some terms that could be unfamiliar.

IFTTT: Some Key Terminology Explained

We’ll deliberately keep this as brief as possible, focusing only on the core elements that might need clearing up.

  • Actions: As you might guess, actions are the “that” in IFTTT. When triggered by this, that happens in the form of an effort
  • Applets: Originally called recipes, applets underpin both Triggers and Actions
  • Ingredients: Again, no prizes here for guessing ingredients are the necessary information coming from a trigger. If you think about an email – and we promise we’ll get amongst smart technology imminently – ingredients are the body of the message, the subject header, and any attachments along with the date, time and address
  • Services: Once called channels, services are in effect, IFTTT’s building blocks. Every service is comprised of triggers and actions, and they can be either data or actions
  • Triggers: Before the “that” of Actions comes the “this.” Triggers are the items that cause the actionWith the basics in place, why should you bother using IFTTT in your smart home?

With the basics in place, why should you bother using IFTTT in your smart home? 

Why Use IFTTT In Your Smart Home?    

Although IFTTT is not a catch-all, it’s a supremely effective method of making devices talk. Smart technology is such a crowded market; any hope of an industry-standard within the Internet of Things is still currently unrealistic.

It doesn’t matter, though. When any devices are not expressly designed to work in sync, you can usually get them playing ball with If This, Then That. The better news is you can achieve this interoperability without any deep knowledge of programming, indeed without anything more than hitting a few buttons or using voice commands. We’ll explore digital assistants and IFTTT after a look at more ways you can use the basic premise of IFTTT.

Picture this…

You’re kicked back on the couch feeling spent after being slammed at work all week. You fancy some Chinese food delivered because you can’t be bothered to cook. Imagine the delivery en route, but you remember you haven’t left the outside light on. Rather than jumping up to take care of it, then getting up again to grab your food, how about if the lights could automatically come on when you place your order? Well, they can thank IFTTT.

You can apply the same logic to ensure that the lights come on any time your smart doorbell pings. You can arrange for the thermostat to kick in when you open your smart door lock.

We’ll look now at some more practical examples of IFTTT in your connected home…

Some Specific Examples of IFTTT Devices in Smart Homes

We’ll list out some IFTTT devices you can use by category first before we double down in a bit more detail.

While not a complete breakdown but to give you an idea of what kind of smart devices and appliances you’ll have at your disposal if you want to start using IFTTT.

Air Quality Monitors
• Nest Protect

Appliances
• GE appliances
• iRobot Roomba Robovacs
• LG washing machine
• Neato Robotics Robovacs
• Samsung appliances from fridges and washing machines through robovacs
• Whirlpool dryer, fridges and washing machines

Cameras

  • Canary All-In-One
  • Canary Flex
  • Nest Cam

Digital Butlers and Smart Home Hubs

  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Microsoft Cortana
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Wink

Heating

  • ecobee
  • Hive
  • Honeywell
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Netatmo

Lighting

  • Hive Active
  • LIFX
  • LightwaveRF
  • Nanoleaf
  • Philips Hue
  • Sengled
  • Wemo

Music

  • Deezer
  • Linn
  • Soundcloud
  • Spotify

Security Systems

  • Arlo
  • Abode
  • D-Link
  • EZVIZ
  • Hive View
  • Netatmo
  • Scout Alarm System

TV and Video

  • AnyMote Smart Remote
  • Comcast Labs
  • TiVo
  • YouTube

So…

Now you can see at a glance an array of smart home products ripe for creating recipes with; we’ll look at the nuts and bolts of getting started with If This, Then That.

How To Get Started With IFTTT

As we mentioned, applets
are services that use both triggers
and actions. If something happens on
one of your services, it will trigger an action on another.

By creating applets, you’ll determine for yourself the
triggers responsible for the actions you decide upon.

This way of using IFTTT is ideal for everything from automating mundane tasks in Microsoft Office through to maxing out your social media or working with photos. Enhance productivity while making your life easier into the bargain.

Create an IFTTT Account

The first step is creating
a free IFTTT account
.

Sign up by using either Facebook, Google, or an email
address and secure password.

With this taken care of, it will redirect you to a general
information page.

Create an Applet

Now for the nitty-gritty of making an applet, which is
straightforward even if you’re not the biggest tech-lover.

  • Click My
    Applets
    > New Applet
  • Click on the word This which renders in blue
  • Select the service you want for your
    trigger
  • Select the service you want for your
    action. Click Add Ingredient
    > Create Action
  • After reviewing your applet to make sure
    all are good, click Finish!

We’re only talking about a few minutes from gun to tape, and
this is a great way of familiarizing yourself with just some of the power of If
This, Then That.

You are also able to choose from pre-made applets. You can
search broadly by category or specifically by name if you know exactly what
you’re looking for. With this approach, you need to do nothing more than move a
slider.

From setting your morning wake-up call if you can’t seem to
hear your alarm through to sending fully automated tweets, once you start
experimenting, you’ll find imagination is your only limitation.

Top 7 IFTTT Integrations

We’ll round out today with a glimpse at seven simple but
effective IFTTT integrations.

  1. Get Coffee Brewing When Fitbit Registers You’re Awake
  2. Sync Alexa To-Do and iOS Reminders
  3. Get An Alert When Your Favorite Artist Tweets About Show Tickets
  4. Save Strava Activities To Google Spreadsheet
  5. Create evernote Notes Using Google Assistant
  6. Use Alexa To Set Temperature on Google Nest Thermostat
  7. Control a Range Of Smart Appliances

1) Get
Coffee Brewing When Fitbit Registers You’re Awake

Are you tired of rushing in the morning? Would you
appreciate a little helping hand in the form of freshly brewed coffee to greet
you?

If you’ve got Mr. Coffee’s
Wemo-enabled coffee machine
and a Fitbit,
create a recipe to make that happen as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Get IFTTT applet here

2) Sync
Alexa To-Do and iOS Reminders

If you frequently call out to Alexa to create a reminder for
you, what happens when you head out to work or to the gym?

With IFTTT, you’ll be able to use an applet that syncs your
Alexa task list with your iOS reminders giving you full access to your to-dos
across multiple devices.

Get IFTTT applet here

3) Get
An Alert When Your Favorite Artist Tweets About Show Tickets

Make sure you never miss out on a show again harnessing the
power of IFTTT and Twitter.

Get IFTTT applet here

4) Save
Strava Activities To Google Spreadsheet

Strava is a social network for athletes, but how about if
you want to more rigorously analyze data?

Well, thanks to IFTTT and a simple Google sheet, you can get
down to business outside the app to help track your training goals.

Get IFTTT applet here

5) Create
Evernote Notes Using Google Assistant

If you’ve got so used to barking voice commands to control your smart home devices you like the idea of dictating your notes, too, this is super-simple with Google Assistant and Evernote.

All you’ll need is a Google Home smart speaker, or a phone with Assistant baked in and, of course, Evernote.

Get IFTTT applet here

6) Use
Alexa To Set Temperature on Google Nest Thermostat

Let’s say you have a Google
Nest Thermostat
in the house; there’s a neat IFTTT applet to help you to
change temperature with your favorite virtual butler Alexa.

Get IFTTT applet here

7) Control
a Range Of Smart Appliances

If
you have a batch of smart appliances in your kitchen, why not use IFTTT to
ensure you receive an alert when your dishwasher is done?

The
same approach is possible with Bosch, Whirlpool, GE, LG, and Samsung devices,
from washing machines and dryers to robot vacuums and slow cookers.

Get IFTTT applet here

Final Word

Just as surely as you can create recipes in the kitchen, you
can make different ingredients in your smart home come together in one
appetizing dish that might not have the taste of your favorite Italian but will
most certainly add a further layer of convenience to your connected house.

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The post Did You Know These Devices Sync With IFTTT? appeared first on Smarthome Blog.

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