Bytes: Describing IFTTT (If This Then That) to someone who is unfamiliar with the service, can be tricky. Throw in IoT (Internet of Things) and you’ve got yourself caught in a jiffy. The explanation for these terms can either be shortly summarized in a vague manner, or they can be over-complicated to bounce off people’s heads.
What is IFTTT? IFTTT cofounder Linden Tibbets, explains it as a service which “helps people make simple connections between anything on the Internet.” So using an IFTTT ‘applet’ or service (formerly known as recipe), you can automate the things on the internet. The automation could vary from simple events such as syncing your Facebook photo uploads to Google Drive or iOS Albums, to more complex ones that allow you to set the temperature of your thermostat using Google Home or Amazon Echo.
IFTTT works on a combination of ‘triggers’ and ‘actions’, where ‘This’ denotes triggers and ‘That’ denotes actions. So together it means, if a particular event is found to be triggered, then perform the respective action. If we look at the above mentioned example wherein we synced all our Facebook uploads to Google Drive or iOS Albums, then ‘uploading a photo on Facebook’ would be the trigger that would perform ‘sync the photo with Google Drive’ action.
What is IoT?
Now the Internet of Things is a concept, rather than some service or functionality. It simply means everything that can be connected to the internet, will be connected. Anything that has an on and off switch and Wi-Fi capability can be connected to the internet. The range of devices can vary from our favorite smartphones to coffee making machines to our headphones and earphones.
Now what we could use this for? Imagine you are sleeping at night and if you’re a fitness freak, possibility is you would have that fitness band on your wrist, tracking and monitoring your sleep activities. In the middle of the night, you wake up from your ‘deep sleep’ and your fitness band tracks it and sends a command to your beloved smartphone to play some rain sounds to help you to slumber back in your bed. Keeping a track of all your previous sleep activities, the band knows when you wake up, and based on that it sends a command to the coffee maker to start brewing that Latte for you, so that you have it hot and ready by the time you get to the kitchen.
No it is not scary, it’s just something that could happen if all your devices started communicating with each other. To be honest enough, if you have asked Alexa for the daily weather updates or checked your Fitbit to see the number of burnt calories for the day, you have probably interacted with this concept.
IFTTT and IoT together.
Now try and mix these two things together, and take a minute to think about the endless options you could explore using them. Some projects on Kickstarter already make good use of both the things (just to make things clear again, IFTTT is a company generated service while IoT is a concept), such as the Aumi Mini, which have very beautifully integrated IFTTT with IoT to bring notifications from different apps to your bedroom. Once you get past the technical jargon associated with IFTTT (and IoT), you’d also be able to create some really simple recipes or complex applets that combine a bunch of recipes together.
So why don’t you try it and tap on the “Ultimate Wake-Up Button.”