Any real added value of IFTTT?

It seems like most IFTTT allows you to connect two services together which is pretty cool. However, I’ve not been able to think of anything really useful on a daily basis so far to be able to really utilize IFTTT. Just wondering if anyone has been able to use it in really pragmatic ways. I’m not talking about flashing lights when your ebay auction ends. I’m talking about just making your home automation more easy or interesting that you can’t do with the standard app. The most I could do is log my activity throughout the house in Google Drive and even that is kind of useless.

This is one way i use IFTTT with smartthings

I don’t presently use it myself as there are better, more direct ways to connect the systems I want to right now, but I know of some things people are doing.

@sidjohn1 example is one. I know of other people who push log details into a file in dropbox or something to get their data easily.

Another good use would be to allow location services without having to run the full mobile app on a device. For example, if you have a teenage child that you don’t want to have them running the full app but you still want certain things to happen (like an outside light turning on when they come home), that could be done through IFTTT.

If you use Blink you could set that up to notify you if things like a garage door is left open too long or if there is movement in your house.

I think for the purposes of home automation, it’s limited by the level of integration that is available. For example, you can’t trigger a smartapp externally, so right now it seems limited to “informational purposes” for the cool stuff.

I have it set to remind me when I go on vacation (checking in at an airport venue in FourSquare) so I remember certain actions that I need to take at home.

Personally though, because of the limitations of SmartThings (reliance on the cloud, delays and reliability) I haven’t really put too much effort into it other than some convenience features. I wouldn’t trust the ST hub-cloud setup to keep my house locked (especially with the presence issues on Android) or to reliably inform me of a potential intruder (primarily because of their reliability on DropCam only and the delays and issues with reporting when using external sensors).

I is it as an intermediary with Tasker for my Android app. Instead of mucking around with Oauth2 and the like, I just have Tasker send a text message to IFTTT tagged with what I want it to do.

My complete setup includes DashClock Widget -> DashClock Tasker Extension -> Tasker -> text message -> IFTTT -> SmartThings.

I also dynamically add and remove the DashClock extension from the widget using Tadker depending if I am connected to my router or not.

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[quote=“viguera, post:4, topic:3903, full:true”]
I think for the purposes of home automation, it’s limited by the level of integration that is available. For example, you can’t trigger a smartapp externally, so right now it seems limited to “informational purposes” for the cool stuff.[/quote]

There is a work around for this. I use this extensively with my Ubi. Create a virtual on/off button tile. Then create your smartapp to trigger when this tile turn on. (Also include a line to turn off this tile in the SmartApp so it’s ready for next time.) Now you can get IFTTT to run your smart app by simple hooking whatever trigger you want in IFTTT to turn on this tile in SmartThings.

This works for any third party integration where you want to trigger a SmartApp: IFTTT, Ubi, Oath, etc.

What do you mean by their reliability on DropCam only?

Now, I certainly don’t expect ST to be on par with ADT or some other monitored alarm service, but I use it for at least some basic level monitoring when I’m away. I’ve got three motion sensors as well as a number of door and window sensors that will send me an alert if I have the mode set to away.

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Although it requires a little bit of programming, I use IFTTT as means to have remote actions make things happen in my ST controlled house, that I couldn’t figure another automated approach to.

One easy example is to have the A/C turn on at my house when I leave my office (which is 45 minutes away). I use the iOS Geofencing “when I enter an area” to turn on a ST Virtual Switch named “Barry’s At Work”, and when I leave the area, it turns that switch off. I have a SmartApp subscribed to that switch turning off, which in turn sets the thermostat temperature to my desired “home” temperature so the house cools down before I get home.

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I actually meant to say their reliance on DropCam rather than reliability. Although I’m not entirely sure about the latter, my issue with the former is that there are quite a few other vendors out there that offer IP camera options that are cheaper and/or just as good.

The ST ecosystem is somewhat nebulous when I look at it… it’s sort-of for geeks, where you need a lot of moving parts to get it to do what you want, and it relies on 24/7 internet connection, which is in itself problematic for home security or hands-free automation – there are several other threads discussing this and the local actions that will supposedly be added to the hub later, so that’s a point of discussion elsewhere.

Suffice it to say that your reply and Barry’s response kind of illustrate my point. I don’t mind using IFTTT geofencing, and ST supports geofencing, but for hub location only to detect presence. I think that’s a missed opportunity, and I wish that ST would allow me to create those “at work” or “in the car” scenarios and perform actions against them directly rather than have to rely on things like IFTTT or Tasker and intermediary things like Ubi and/or virtual buttons.

Okay… I thought that’s what you meant. I guess I’ll just that security options exists outside of cameras. Obviously this is less than ideal. As I said, ST isn’t on par with monitored security companies, that’s for sure.

Well… yes and no. I think some basic HA stuff can be done relatively easily “out of the box” but certainly advanced stuff needs some level of geek in order to get it working.

No question there… my only argument would be that I think 24/7 internet will probably be a very common thing in 10 years time. I suspect it’ll be as ubiquitous utilities like water and electric. That still doesn’t solve the issues of security being able to be disabled with a cut wire, but I don’t think ST will ever really be considered an advanced security system.

[quote]…rather than have to rely on things like IFTTT or Tasker and intermediary things like Ubi and/or virtual buttons.

Okay… I don’t disagree with this, but again the original question of the thread was value of IFTTT. I guess I view IFTTT has a basic level service to create cloud-to-cloud interactions. IFTTT provides a service that lets me connect two thing that might never have an other level of interaction together. It’s almost like a limited, standardized api.


Do you have the code for “Barry’s at work” virtual switch?

I just used the “On/Off Button Tile” - if you can’t find it in the ST App, you’ll need to add it from “My Devices” in the IDE…

Then are you using the IFTTT geolocation function to turn on/off that virtual tile?

Yup, I use the IOS Geolocation feature to turn the switch ON when I am at work, and OFF when I leave.

I wrote an app that tracks that and turns the thermostats to “HOME” when the switch gets turned off…if your thermostat has a “permanent hold” feature (like the default Ecobee device from ST), you can also use this to keep your house in “AWAY” while you travel…

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IFTTT is really helpful in certain limited situations.

My son lives with me ½ the time - not always on the same days of the week. I wanted the lights and A/C to behave differently when he was here, but he’s still too young to be reliably carrying a presence sensor (the nerve!).

So instead, I created two types of event in my google calendar, and then set up 2 corresponding IFTTT triggers - the 1st occurs when it sees “XXX is here” event - and it turns on a virtual on/off tile The 2nd trigger occurs when it sees “XXX leaves” and - you guessed it – it turns the virtual tile off.

Then, in the smartapps for his room, I included some simple if/else logic.

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