IFTTT, which is short for If This Then That, is a web-based service that allows users to create simple recipes to control web-connected devices and services. I’ve talked about IFTTT quite a bit on my podcast, but one of the comments I receive regularly is that people just don’t quite not how to get started, or aren’t sure how IFTTT can fit in their life. To help, I thought I’d give some basic examples of how I’m using IFTTT.
To explain IFTTT, we first have to understand the terminology and concepts behind the service. IFTTT is made up of dozens “channels” representing various devices and services that can be connected via the IFTTT. Many popular Internet-connected devices and web services have IFTTT channels. When you string these services together using IFTTT you are creating a “recipe.” Each channel then has a number of “triggers” - or the “this” or input part of the recipe - that cause “actions” - or the “that” or output part of the recipe.
For example, a simple IFTTT recipe might say: If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook, then download that photo to my dropbox. This possible because Facebook and Dropbox are both supported channels on IFTTT and tagging a photo on Facebook is a supported trigger, while downloading something to Dropbox is a supported action.
Once you get the hang of how IFTTT recipes can be strung together you can start using IFTTT to automate the way you interact with your various Internet connected devices and services. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get started with IFTTT. To help you get started, I thought I’d devote this article to a couple of everyday examples of how I use IFTTT in my life.
For the Connected Home
I have a few internet connected devices at my home, including Phillip Hue bulbs, WeMo switches, a Nest thermostat and a Ring doorbell. While these devices don’t natively interact with each other, they all of these devices have channels on IFTTT.
One of the simplest series of recipes is I use on IFTTT is to turn my Hue lights on and off based on certain times of day or events. For example, I have a light in my Foyer that I like to turn on at 5:45 a.m. and off when the sunrises. I can do this by creating two simple IFTTT recipes connecting the Date/Time and the Weather IFTTT channels to the Hue channel. One recipe turns the light on at 5:45 while the other turns the light off at sunset.