IFTTT brings everything together
IFTTT is a free online service that lets you craft "If this, then that"-style automation recipes to help simplify your life. In the beginning, this meant pairing up different websites and social networks, with recipes that would automatically save your Instagram photos to your Dropbox account, or change your Twitter picture whenever someone tagged a shot of you on Facebook.
In the last few years though, IFTTT has been steadily rolling out channels for a veritable plethora of smart gadgetry, allowing you to craft recipes capable of automating your life in some truly intriguing new ways. Click through for a look at some of the devices we're talking about.
Here's one of this year's high-profile additions to the IFTTT lineup: the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Aside from streaming music from the Amazon Prime music library, Echo features a number of integrations with popular smart home gadgets that puts "Alexa," the cloud-connected, voice-activated AI housed inside, in charge of your connected gear. The IFTTT channel brings even more gadgets into play -- although as of now, triggers are limited to your Echo-curated shopping lists, to-do lists, and timers. We're hoping for a lot more in the coming months.
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, 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 your home, or send a text message to your mechanic after the "check engine" light comes on.
Belkin WeMo Switch + Motion
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 along with a switch capable of automating anything with a plug on it. Both components get their own, dedicated channels on IFTTT.
Belkin WeMo Insight Switch
You'll also find Belkin's WeMo Insight Switch on IFTTT. It offers everything the original WeMo Switch offers, but it also tracks energy consumption.
Belkin WeMo LED
Belkin's connected LEDs have their own channel on IFTTT, too. Just screw them in, plug in the WeMo Link that controls them, then start IFTTTing your home's lights.
Belkin WeMo Light Switch
If you're capable of handling a more hands-on installation, you could use the IFTTT-compatible WeMo Light Switch to smarten up your home's hardwired light fixtures.
Belkin WeMo Maker
For something truly DIY-oriented, there's the Belkin WeMo Maker Kit. If you're willing to roll up your sleeves and tinker around with it, you'll be able to automate things like blinds and sprinkler sets, then hook all of that up with IFTTT via the WeMo Maker channel.
Like Automatic, Dash plugs into your car's data port, then monitors your driving to help you increase your fuel efficiency. Once you set Dash up with IFTTT, you can automate your smart home with your car, just like you can with Automatic. Dash also rewards you for safe driving, and IFTTT allows you to automatically share those achievements to any social media you choose.
Homeboy is a cool little camera designed for the smart home. Connect it with IFTTT, and you'll be able to trigger recordings, or put its built-in motion detector to work.
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 (for now, anyway), 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.
If you own a GE oven that's equipped with Wi-Fi, like this GE Profile Series Double Wall Oven, you'll be able to automate it using the GE Appliances IFTTT channel. GE also offers an IFTTT channel for connected water heaters.
The Lifx color-changing smart LEDs have had a big year, and one of their recent steps forward -- an IFTTT channel -- was perhaps their most significant. With IFTTT, you can schedule these lights and automate color changes using other IFTTT-compatible gadgetry. You can even pulse any color of your choosing as an ambient notification when you get tagged on Facebook or mentioned on Twitter.
Manything is a very cool, very free app that promises to turn any iOS device into a dedicated smart home security camera -- perfect for that old phone you've got stashed away in the junk drawer. Hook it up with the also-free IFTTT, and you'll discover a surprisingly robust channel that offers multiple options for both Actions (the "If-this" part) and Triggers (the "Then-that" part). Did I mention that it's free? Because it's free.
Lest Jawbone and Fitbit have all the fun, you can sync your Misfit Shine gadgetry up with IFTTT, too.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Adding smarts to the boring old thermostat, Nest learns your patterns and helps 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 isn't the only smart thermostat with an IFTTT channel -- you can control Ecobee thermostats with IFTTT recipes, too.
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 semiannual 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 Weather Station
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 "then thats" you can think of. Add the Netatmo Rain Gauge to your setup, and IFTTT can let you know the moment it stops raining, so you can head back out to resume any interrupted barbeques.
Netatmo also offers a connected camera for smart homes, and it has an IFTTT channel, too.
Like Lifx, the Orbnext is a color-changing gadget that owes much of its appeal to IFTTT. Activate the Orbnext channel, and this likable glass desk ornament can suddenly double as an ambient notification delivery service, flashing custom colors to clue you in to things like missed calls or important emails from the boss.
Parrot Flower Power
Put the Parrot Flower Power in the soil near your plant and it'll 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 Hue LEDs
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.
Quirky+GE Aros Smart Air Conditioner
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.
Tado Smart AC Control
If you cool your home using less newfangled window AC units, you'll be happy to know that there's a gadget capable of giving them some retroactive smarts. A European startup, Tado is a wall-mounted smart device that connects with your AC unit using the same infrared port that the remote uses. Sync them up, and you'll be able to automate it, or control it using your phone. Add in the IFTTT channel, and things get even smarter.
Quirky Pivot Power Genius
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 Spotter Multipurpose Sensor
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.
Quirky Egg Minder
For a quirkier Quirky gadget, you could try out the Egg Minder, which promises to help keep track of which of the eggs in your fridge are still good. And yep, you'll find it on IFTTT.
Heck, there's even a connected piggy bank with its own IFTTT channel. Seriously.
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.
Ubi lends its ear to your smart-home setup, promising voice controlled access of its Wikipedia-esque trove of knowledge. Sync it up with IFTTT, and you'll be able to trigger recipes using custom-created voice commands. That's undeniably cool, but be prepared to put up with Ubi's many quirks.
iSmartAlarm remains one of our favorite DIY home security options. Now, thanks to an IFTTT channel, you can sync your system up with third-party smart-home gear.
The same can be said of the IFTTT-compatible Scout Security, another low-cost DIY option we're fans of.
MyFox Smart Security
We were less enthused about the overpriced MyFox Smart Security, but it also has an IFTTT channel, in case you're interested.