It's been a long day at work. It's late, and you're tired. You pull up in front of a dark house, make your way to the door, and fumble around with your keys in the dim light, dropping them on the doormat as you try and unlock the door. You raise a fist and curse the night sky -- surely there must be a better way!
Well, there is, and there's really no need to be so dramatic about it. With the right smart lights and a little help from the free online automation service IFTTT, you can program your home lighting to turn on automatically the instant you arrive home. Scroll on through to see how it's done.
Once you've got some IFTTT-compatible smart lights that are ready for automation, go ahead and download the free IFTTT app to your Android or iOS device. Open it up and create an account, then tap the little "plus" icon on the homescreen to create your location-based automation. IFTTT calls these automations "applets."
IFTTT stands for "If This, Then That," so to create your applet, you'll need a "this" and a "that." Tap the little plus sign next to "this" to get started.
IFTTT lets you pick an exact spot on the map -- whenever your phone enters that area, your applet will run. Go ahead and center the area on your home, and consider zooming out just a little bit to give your phone's GPS some wiggle room.
The nice thing about the Lifx channel on IFTTT is that it gives you a lot of room to specify exactly what you want your lights to do. I'm going to set them to turn on at a pretty normal setting, but if you wanted them to come on to a specific color or brightness setting, you could do that too.
Once that's all set, tap "Finish" to finalize your applet. If you want, you can toggle that little slider to make it so your phone gets a notification whenever the applet runs. Either way, there you go -- no more cursing the darkness!
Oh, and if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned the ultrapopular, IFTTT-compatible line of Philips Hue smart lights yet, it's because they actually don't need IFTTT to turn on automatically when you get home.
Location-based lighting triggers like those are a native feature in the Hue app, which you can read more about here.