IFTTT explained: Bringing your smart home together
Own a Nest or Amazon Echo? Make your smart home work smarter for you with IFTTT…
Thermostats, lightbulbs, security cameras, speakers: just a few of the everyday items that can now connect to the internet. We control these smart home gadgets using smartphone apps. This is great, but with separate apps for each device, running your smart home can become a bore.
What is IFTTT?
Short for If This, Then That, it links your gadgets through a single app to make running your smart home simple.
It’s designed to make sure:
- All of the services we use should work seamlessly together
- No one should have to pledge allegiance to one brand
If you own an Amazon Echo, Nest Learning Thermostat or other smart home tech – IFTTT will help you pull it all together. You can adjust your smart heating by asking Alexa, for example.
How does it work?
Everything is set up and controlled by an IFTTT app that you download for your iPad, iPhone or Android device. It takes 2 separate apps or devices (grouped as ‘services’ by IFTTT) and creates a ‘connection’ between them.
‘If This, Then That’ neatly sums up how it works:
- If This happens with one service
- Then That happens with another
These connections between services are called applets – and there are thousands to choose from. Applets help services ‘integrate quickly and easily, in a way that we can all trust,’ says IFTTT co-founder Linden Tibbets. You simply find the applet you want in the app and hit ‘turn on’. Here are 18 applets to get started with.
Amazon Echo and Nest
Nest is a learning thermostat. So when you adjust the heating during the first week of it being installed it remembers and programmes itself.
Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Powered by Alexa, you can make shopping lists, play music, ask questions and control smart home tech. All you have to do is ask.
Working together with IFTTT
- If you say ‘set Nest to ºC’ to Amazon Echo then the temperature will be set for your Nest thermostat
Philips Hue and Ring doorbell
Philips Hue lightbulbs connect to your Wi-Fi so you can control them from an app on your phone. Connect up to 50 bulbs, and switch off from your office if you’ve left them on.
Ring is regular doorbell with a camera built in. When it detects motion it begins recording, streaming the footage to an app on your phone so you can see who’s at the door.
Working together with IFTTT
- If Ring doorbell detects motion then Hue lights turn on – great for deterring burglars
What else can I do?
There’s heaps more cool stuff you can do with devices like Nest, Hue and Amazon Echo and IFTTT. Here are some great connections you can set up:
- Alexa and Hue: If you say ‘party time’ to Alexa then your Hue lights colours loop will come on
- Nest and Hue: If Nest thermostat is set to away then your Philips Hue lights will turn off
- Alexa and Evernote: If you make to-do lists with Amazon Echo then they’ll automatically be added to Evernote
- Nest Protect and Hue: If your Nest Protect detects carbon monoxide then your Hue lights will switch to red
- WeMo and smartphone: Toggle a WeMo switch on or off when you leave home – perfect if you’ve left the lamp on
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