Virtual assistants have been a revolution in our homes. Devices like Alexa have brought home automation closer and cheaper to the general public. Assistants from Google, Amazon, and Apple improve every day, but they can fall short for the most demanding users.
If you like to create your routines and you are missing some options, IFTTT is just what you are looking for. This service is not new, but it has been substantially improved to work hand in hand with virtual assistants and further improve the experience of using these devices.
What is IFTTT And How Does It Work?
IFTTT is a service that emerged in 2010. It stands for ‘If this, then that,’ which could be translated as ‘ If this happens, do this other. ‘ Originally, this app was born for users to create, program, and automate different tasks on the network, thus improving productivity. IFTTT’s slogan is ‘Put the internet to work for you.
IFTTT works with integrations. Once you create your account, you authorize different service accounts that you use, and you can automate many tasks. For example, in its beginnings, it was quite typical to use IFTTT to send an alert to your mobile in the morning, indicating if it was going to rain that day. That way, you knew in advance if you had to take the bus instead of walking to work or if you had to go out with an umbrella.
The opportunities of IFTTT were almost endless just over a decade ago. However, after integrating with intelligent voice assistants, IFTTT multiplied its capabilities exponentially.
With the massification of this service, considerable changes were also made. During the early years, IFTTT was a free tool. The IFTTT Free account allows you to activate a maximum of 5 Applets. However, there is a trial mode of Pro mode in which you will be able to use a total of 20 applets for a limited time.
How to integrate IFTTT into your smart home
At its core, IFTTT works like an Alexa or Google Assistant routine builder. What is the point of using it, then? The grace of IFTTT is that it works as a bridge for applications and services that do not have a native integration with Alexa, Google Assistant, or HomeKit. In addition, it also serves to execute tasks that do not exist within the ecosystem of virtual assistants.
IFTTT can unlock routines that currently don’t exist in our voice assistants. If you are interested and want to learn how to use it, follow these steps :
Register an account:
To get started with IFTTT in your smart home, you first need to go to ifttt.com and register an account. Once that is done, you can activate the 7-day Pro account without fear since you will not be asked for a payment method.
Activate the integration with your virtual assistant:
Once we have the account, we can look at the platform or jump directly to activate the integrations with our device.
- IFTTT + Alexa: we will go to ifttt.com/amazon_alexa and click the ‘Connect’ button. Then, the Amazon OAuth window will appear. We will put our username and password for the Amazon account that our Amazon Echo uses. Ready. You will now be able to use IFTTT formulae on your Amazon device.
- IFTTT + Google Assistant – Similarly, we’ll go to ifttt.com/google_assistant, click ‘Connect,’ and associate our Google account for Google Home or Nest devices.
- IFTTT + Apple HomeKit – There is no native integration between IFTTT and Apple’s voice assistant yet. However, you can connect the App Store, Health, iOS Reminders, Calendar, and other Apple apps as integrations within IFTTT.
Download IFTTT on your mobile:
You can manage everything from the browser, but the easiest thing is installing IFTTT on your iOS or Android phone and managing the applets.
Search for the IFTTT app in the Play Store or the Apple App Store, install the program, and log in with your username and password.
Once you do, IFTTT will notify you that the program will run in the background. Accept the permissions, and you’re done.
Add more Applets and services.
The best thing you can do at this point is to research the recipes that users have uploaded to IFTTT and see if they can work for you. You can discover all this through the ‘ Explore ‘ tab.
If you use the Amazon assistant at home, you can search for ‘ Alexa ‘ within the search engine. In the first line, the different services compatible with Amazon Alexa that IFTTT supports, such as Philips Hue, Ring, Nexx, or Virtual Switches, will occur in the form of a square.
Just below, you can access a nearly endless list of applets created by users. Each card will show you what the action does, the creator, the number of users that have that recipe enabled, and the services needed to run that Applet. In addition, there are official recipes created by the developers of these services.
Once you have found an Applet, you want to use, click on the Applet and click ‘ Activate. ‘ If that program requires additional permissions, you’ll be prompted to add new accounts to IFTTT or accept the permissions on your phone, such as if a recipe requires getting your phone’s location.
Most Applets are automatic, but others may require our action to configure them. For example, if we use a recipe that performs an action when we get home, the Applet will ask us for the location of our home to check the location and carry out its task.
Create your own Applets
If you can not find the most suitable IFTTT formula for you, you can create it. To do this, go to the IFTTT app on your smartphone and click on ‘ Create ‘, at the bottom of the main menu.
You can create Applets in two steps. At the top (If This), you’ll need to set the trigger for the action. For example, ‘Android battery is below 15%’. Then, you will have to place the action to be executed at the bottom.
The possibilities are limitless. You can send an email with the warning. Still, you can have Alexa notify you or even perform an action on a home automation device that you control through Alexa, such as a light bulb or Nanoleaf panels, which can even adjust color to notify you that you should put to assess the mobile.
When creating, you will have certain problems with the Free account, even with the 7-day trial. Pro users can count more than one element to the activity argument (If This), which we would not be able to do if we do not pay for the full service. However, we recommend that you try recipes contributed by the community and pay or not, depending on what IFTTT can bring you in your day-to-day and daily tasks.
IFTTT is a Smart Home
Automate the lighting of lights to another level
Until now, you could turn the lights on or off in certain house rooms with parameters such as time or sunset. But… What if I told you that you could turn them on automatically when you get home without touching a single switch?
Or, let’s take a more complex case. Suppose you turn on the lights in your living room right at dusk, and this week they turn on at about 8:12 p.m. What happens on a stormy day? Well, that’s where IFTTT comes in, which can step in to light up your rooms with a much smarter parameter.
You will also be able to turn on and off the lights and some smart devices in your home through virtual buttons on the mobile phone, which is still a pending issue in many virtual assistants.
In this case, you could design the routine yourself, but we assure you that thousands and thousands of recipes are already created, and you only have to activate them to start using them. Programming them is not complicated —it’s like a puzzle—but you don’t need to make a single recipe.
Extra security features:
Use motion detectors to record security cameras when they detect movement or when we leave home. Or, for example, receive a notification when you are not at home, and your children return from school. You can make the recipes as complicated as you like, regardless of the native limitations of Google Assistant or Alexa.
Thermostats and air conditioning:
You can turn your home heating on and off using a thermostat. But, with IFTTT, you can save it. It simply activates an Applet that activates or deactivates the air conditioning when certain weather conditions are met. Weather data can be obtained from the internet and not necessarily from a device located in your home.
From here, the limits are set by your imagination. If you have a garden, you can make automatic irrigation thanks to IFTTT without investing too much money in an automatic irrigation system. You can also use this service to create complex routines, use Google Assistant and Alexa simultaneously, or even turn off certain electronic devices when the price of electricity skyrockets.
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