If This, Then That

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Behind smart home automation there is some nifty technology which allows your home to respond intuitively to your needs.

One of the major tools in this technology is a phenomenon known as “If This, Then That” (IFTTT), which sounds pretty abstract but is actually a remarkably simple and neat solution to trigger routine events.

In the smart home, IFTTT allows you to tailor your living to ensure it meets your needs, so your smart products work together, and automatically do what you want them to do.

So, let’s take a little wander into the world of If This, Then That, and explore exactly what it means.

What is If This, Then That?

Basically, IFTTT is a free platform that allows you to create recipes, which are known as “Applets”, so you can connect different apps, services and devices, and have them work together.

Or, to put it differently, it allows an event in one internet-connected service or device to trigger an action in another

Launched in 2010, the platform released with the slogan “put the Internet to work for you”. And that’s pretty much exactly what it does. It allows your internet-connected services and devices to work together even if they’re not natively created to play nice.

IFTTT initially attracted attention for enabling simple tasks, like if your name was tagged in a Facebook photo, you could create an Applet so the image was automatically downloaded to your Google Photos account.

But soon people really began to have fun, creating all sorts of Applets that allowed their internet-connected world and daily workflow to be automated.

As of 2015, there were about 20 million new recipes created by IFTTT users each day.

Meanwhile, IFTTT has become a mainstay of smart home connectivity.

How IFTTT works in the smart home

In practice, IFTTT allows you to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. For example, you could feasibly create an Applet to turn a smart light on every time you received a Google email.

But in reality, it has a lot more practical applications.

Say for example, you want specific things to occur in your house while you’re driving home from work. Using IFTTT, you can create Applets that initiate these events from a simple trigger such as telling your smart phone voice assistant you’re coming home.

Or you could use IFTTT to kick-start your smart coffee machine when your morning alarm goes off. These devices don’t have to be of the same brand, they just need to be part of the Internet of Things.

The IFTTT platform

Available on a website and also in apps for Android and iOS, IFTTT is a simple and free service to use.

It also has a host of “services” (these were once called channels) where other people’s existing Applets can be found. These services are a bit like categories and there are lots of them specifically for home automation.

Meanwhile, finding a relevant Applet is as easy as searching for the device or service you want to apply it to. You can then apply it or alternately create your own Applet to use for your specific need.

As of April this year IFTTT supported 360 services, with 11 million users running more than a billion Applets a month.

The user-friendly nature of IFTTT means many smart home companies actively cater to it, including our smart home ecosystem of choice FIBARO.

FIBARO and IFTTT

At Lera Smart Home Solutions, FIBARO is our supplier of choice because it offers such immense potential to automate and simplify your home effectively and efficiently under one easy-to-use ecosystem.

One of FIBARO’s innate specialties is the creation of scenes, where you can set up a whole host of actions in your smart home to occur simultaneously using the interconnected FIBARO products.

For example, you can set a scene where the lights come on, the blinds close and the radio plays all at once.

IFTTT allows that potential to be realised even further by integrating other appliances and technology into the system.

So, let’s walk through some great examples of how the use of IFTTT might play out with FIBARO.

Example 1: A FIBARO motion sensor detects activity in your garden. It sends a message alerting you to your new Samsung Smart Watch.

Example 2: Your iPhone rings, so the TV or music in your home is turned down using a FIBARO virtual device.

Example 3:  Yahoo weather indicates it’s about to rain, so a FIBARO scene closes all windows and shuts the patio awning.

Example 4: Your FitBit indicates you’re sleeping so FIBARO initiates a night scene that turns off the lights and shuts off all televisions.

Example 5: Your Google calendar notes you have an event tonight at your house with all your neighbours, it sets off a party scene with music and exterior lights at the time the event is scheduled to start

IFTTT in a nutshell

What is IFTTT? – Short for If This, Then That, IFTTT is a platform that allows you to integrate internet connected devices and have them work together even if they’re not programmed to.

Why is it useful? – It can help automate your smart home and is widely used within smart home ecosystems such as FIBARO.

Quick explanation – In IFTTT the service or device is the This and the action or result when it performs a task is the That.

For example: If I tell Google Assistant “I’m leaving work” (This) then turn the LG smart oven to 180 degrees (That)

An Applet – In IFTTT, an Applet is basically a command where you set up what happens with your connected devices.

A Service – In IFTTT, the service is the device or service that you’re looking to do something with.

About Lera

Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.

We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.

You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home, or contact us directly for further advice.

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