Connect with these 15 IFTTT-friendly smart devices (pictures)
The free Web service based on the concept of "If this, then that" was originally designed to connect your favorite apps and social-networking services, but adding these smart home devices to the mix takes things to a whole new level.
Automatic is a tiny gadget that plugs into your car's data port, then quietly stays in communication with your car's computer as you drive, sending handy info about maintenance and fuel efficiency to your smartphone. Use it with IFTTT -- an automation service based on the concept of "If this, then that" -- and you'll be able to create recipes that connect your car to your smart home. For example, you can have your entertainment center power on when you turn off the ignition near you home, or send a text message to your mechanic after the "check engine" light comes on.
The Belkin WeMo line of smart devices makes for especially fun IFTTT fodder, and it's a great place to start connecting the electronics inside your home. The WeMo Switch + Motion package is particularly appealing, as you'll be getting a motion detector with its own dedicated IFTTT channel, along with a switch capable of automating anything with a plug on it. With automatable WeMo light bulbs and even small appliances like a WeMo Crock-Pot due in the coming months, IFTTT fans will want to keep a close eye on Belkin in 2014.
Dash, like Automatic, plugs into your car's data port, and helps you monitor your driving to increase fuel efficiency. Once you set up Dash with IFTTT via its dedicated channel, you can automate your smart home with your car, just like with Automatic. Dash also rewards you for safe driving, and IFTTT allows you to automatically share those achievements to any social media you choose.
Fitbit's products aim to use technology to help you track and improve your health. The Flex straps to your wrist and tracks metrics including steps taken, calories burned, and sleep quality, letting you compare each to your goals. IFTTT can take the connectivity and tracking convenience further by logging your activity in a Google spreadsheet, or by allowing you to text weight or blood pressure updates to Fitbit's own system. With a variety of triggers and actions, Fitbit's channel helps you log and track your fitness in a variety of programs simultaneously.
The Up24 is Jawbone's latest wristband, and a direct competitor to Fitbit. It monitors how you sleep, move, and eat, then helps you put that information to good use in your everyday life. Sync the thing up with IFTTT and you could have it automatically turn the lights on as you wake up, or log your sleep habits in a program like Evernote. Fitness-minded foodies will even be able to log meals by checking into a restaurant on Foursquare, or by posting poorly lit photos of their food to Instagram.
Adding smarts to the boring old thermostat, Nest learns your patterns and can help you save on heating and cooling bills by automatically adjusting the temperature when you leave for the day or go to sleep. IFTTT users can speed up the learning process by programming the triggers you want Nest to notice. Alternately, you can use Nest to make the rest of your home more responsive by turning off the lights when you leave or by activating a fan if it gets too hot.
Nest has a pattern of reimagining the technology we take for granted. The Nest Protect extends that strategy to your smoke detector by connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network. The semi-annual process of checking the battery, which I'm sure we all do diligently, has never been easier. Set up an IFTTT trigger, and the Nest Protect can simply send your phone an alert when it's time. Beyond that, it can flash the lights during an alarm or text your neighbor in case of a CO warning.
Netatmo's two-piece Weather Station tracks environmental changes like temperature, air pressure, humidity, and even carbon dioxide levels both inside and outside of your home. Hook it up as your IFTTT recipe's "If this," and you'll be able to use those changes to trigger whatever you can think of. Add the Netatmo Rain Gauge to your setup, and it can let you know the moment it stops raining, so you can head back out and resume any interrupted barbeques.
Put the Parrot Flower Power in the soil near your plant and it will monitor vitals like light, temperature, and soil moisture. Pair the Parrot with IFTTT, and you'll be able to establish triggers if any of those vitals reach alert levels. You can also set basic scheduling triggers to help stay up-to-date on when it's time to water.
Philips' color-changing Hue LEDs and light strips make for great fun at parties, but you'll be shocked by how much more useful they become after you start using IFTTT to control them. If the price scares you off, keep in mind that more affordable Hue Lux bulbs are coming later in 2014. These new bulbs will have all of the Hue's connected smarts without the color-changing novelty factor.
Like the Nest Thermostat, this smart air conditioner from Quirky and GE lets you control the cooling in your home remotely. It'll also function as an action for any trigger you can think of on IFTTT. Monitor the temp with your phone and have your air conditioning kick in when it gets too hot, all without needing to lift a finger.
The Pivot Power Genius from Quirky uses Wi-Fi to allow remote control over two of its outlets. With IFTTT integration, you can set those outlets to respond to triggers as the "then that" portion of any recipe. If you want to turn on your coffee maker at a certain time or turn off your TV when it storms, you can do it with this connected power strip.
Quirky's Spotter packs five sensors into its hockey puck design, and can keep you fully up-to-date on the environmental changes in your home. With IFTTT, the Spotter can now trigger actions based on temperature. For instance, you can have the lights turn on if the temperature rises or falls past a certain degree. We're hoping to see expanded compatibility for the Spotter's other sensors soon too.
A SmartThings kit is an attractive place to start if you're trying out home automation, and it's a great way to bring IFTTT into your home, as well. With sensors capable of tracking motion, presence, and even moisture, you'll be able to set up all sorts of creative IFTTT triggers. You'll even be able to use SmartThings to connect products with IFTTT that don't have channels of their own. Install a smart lock from a SmartThings-friendly manufacturer like Schlage or Kwikset, for instance, and you'll be able to automate that lock in IFTTT through the SmartThings channel.
Connect your Withings Pulse or Wi-Fi Digital Body Scale to IFTTT to automatically record your vital statistics to a Google Drive spreadsheet, or to simply turn the coffee maker on after your morning weigh-in.