SmartThings Community

What do you use IFTTT for with SmartThings? (Examples and Ideas) 😎

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#1

Continuing the discussion from IFTTT and SmartThings:

Here you go!

Use this thread for a brief description of how you use IFTTT with SmartThings, then link to a specific topic thread to discuss it in more detail.

To start, here is the original blog announcement of the IFTTT SmartThings channel. (Unfortunately the ultimate guide tutorial linked to from that announcement is no longer available. I’ve added a fresher link right after this. )

And for those new to IFTTT, here is a good 2015 tutorial article on how to use IFTTT, including the DO widget:


List out your SmartThings automations
Problems connecting from IFTTT (February 2017)
IFTTT and SmartThings (UK accounts)
Aliases or groups?
[RELEASE] Ask Alexa
Experiences using IFTTT and ST
How extreme can the IFTT "that's" get? Cross system integration?
#2

Personally, my biggest use of IFTTT before the Amazon echo was released was for voice control of smart things.

Smartthings has an IFTTT channel, and there is also an IFTTT “SMS” channel that is triggered simply by sending a text with a specific hashtag.

So as long as you have an unlimited texting plan on your mobile, you can have voice commands for pretty much anything smartthings can do. This works especially well with a smart watch that can send voice text.

It’s not using natural language, so it can be a little clunky. But if you really need voice control, it’s a very nice, totally free way to add that functionality. You don’t need any extra devices.

I am quadriparetic, use a wheelchair with limited hand control, so this was very helpful to me before the Amazon echo became available. I do prefer the echo, because it does use natural language, but the IFTTT voice text message is still useful now when I am out of Echo range, such as in the yard.

I set up IFTTT’s text number as a contact called “House.” And I was then able to say “hey, Siri, tell House Hashtag bedroom underscore fan underscore on” and have the fan come on!

For more information on this method, see the following thread. Although the original author is using Siri in the example, the exact same method will work with any voice text Method including hey Google or Cortana.


#3

IFTTT is often used for fast, quick, integration with other automation systems that do not integrate directly with smartthings.

There can be a lag, even up to 15 minutes, while the messages go out over the Internet to the IFTTT cloud and back , so it’s not great for something like turning on the light switch and having the lights come on when you walk into a room.

On the other hand, if you had outside lights on a timed schedule, or you wanted to Control a WiFi sprinkler system or have the automated window shades open up, and those devices have their own IFTTT channel already, it’s generally quite easy to connect that to the SmartThings IFTTT channel. That lets you then include those devices in your SmartThings routines, even though you don’t have direct integration with them through SmartThings.

So common uses of this type include Lutron Caseta Serena window coverings and the Racchio sprinkler system. It may not give you as many controls as a full integration, and there may be some lag, but it can still be useful.

Does it have an IFTTT Channel?

Quite often when a new Home automation device is released the initial integration with SmartThings will be through IFTTT, and then over time a more direct method may be developed.

For example, the flic button is brand-new. It uses Bluetooth, and the Bluetooth antenna in the SmartThings V2 hub has not been turned on yet. So I am using IFTTT to connect the flic button to my SmartThings system.

Assuming Bluetooth connectivity gets turned on eventually in the SmartThings hub, then I probably would go for a direct connection. Or flic might add an official SmartThings cloud to cloud integration and I might end up using that.

But for now, IFTTT meant I could use my flic with SmartThings on the first day it came out. :sunglasses:


#4

Another popular use for IFTTT is sending custom notifications. :pager: :envelope_with_arrow:

IFTTT allows you to trigger multiple recipes from a single event. And it has an email channel. As well as a text Channel.

So you can use it to send custom text or email messages when something happens in SmartThings. And you can use it to send one message to your neighbor, a different message to yourself, and yet a different message to a family member, all from the same event.

This gives you more notification options then the official SmartThings mobile app. But again there may be a time delay, possibly even 15 minutes or so, while everything gets processed through multiple clouds.

Still, it can be very useful for something like a water leak notification or even a “Michael’s home from school” message.


(David Tucker) #5

I use IFTTT to control several devices that are not common in USA, hence no device types exist yet for SmartThings

Netatmo Thermostat…especially setting away mode, manual temperature boost, and changing my nighttime setback schedule if there is very cold weather forecast. Until now, I have only used a few virtual buttons in SmartTiles to set the modes I want via the IFTTT maker channel … but now we have IFTTT integration working I can make this far more comprehensive and build a full virtual thermostat in SmartThings

Smappee Energy Monitor … this is a great device that can not only monitor solar power production and household power consumption, but also identifies individual devices switching on/off just by reading the change in power load on the system.

I will set up virtual switches in SmartThings, so I can see at a glance whether certain devices in the home have been switched on or off … and even use this as triggers for other events. Part of the problem using this with IFTTT by itslef has always been that IFTTT is very difficult to get to operate multiple IF conditions…but with SmartThings coding through SmartApps this will be 100 times better.

Smappee also supports old 433MHz switches, so once you have the device provides a very cheap way of adding more devices into your HA system (one-way communication only though, so Smappee doesn’t really know if a switch is on or off.

I have already built a hack devicetype to display the solar power production of my system and total power load within SmartThings, which polls the device locally through the LAN and does not need to route through the cloud. My next step is to drive switching of devices to maximise my use of home-generated power, and minimise grid exports and imports.

Moni.ai is also a useful voice trigger with IFTTT, You set up a recipe with whatever natural language phrase you want, and define what you want it to trigger - e.g. a virtual switch in SmartThings. This gets around the need to say hashtag etc, as you can define the phrase you want … Moni.ai can even ask a follow up question to get additional parameter inputs. e.g. say “Dim bedroom light”, Moni can the be programmed to say “what dim level”, to which you respond “30”, and Moni.ai will pass the parameter 30 into the trigger action for “Dim bedroom light”

Incidentally, I have never encountered much delay when using Moni.ai … it always seems to happens within a couple of seconds.


#6

I have IFTTT post to Twitter when I switch on one of my 1930’s radios. (Mostly just because I can.)

I also use IFTTT to send lock commands to my deadbolts when I arm my security system. Before I wrote a custom app, I was using IFTTT to turn my security cameras on/off, as well.

IFTTT can also post to Twitter and Facebook if my smoke alarms go off.

I recently started collecting rotary phones and I have several of them connected to a Google Voice adapter so that I can make calls with them. I have a recipe on IFTTT that will ring my rotary phones if my washing machine (in the garage) gets close to freezing.


(Chrisb) #7

Very soon I hope to trigger notifications to be displayed on my LaMetric Time when certain things happen in SmartThings. The LaMetric channel is supposed to be coming soon.

Then I do things like arrivals or routines.


#8

I find the delay is different for different channels. And for different households.

The worst is the Gmail channel, that can definitely take 15 minutes for me.

An incoming text only takes a couple of seconds, as does the outgoing Phillips hue channel. So I can use IFTTT to blink a Hue light very quickly.

The new flic channel is taking about 8 seconds, which is fine for what I’m using it for.


(Bob) #9

I’d seen this channel, but had no idea it contained this functionality. And I’m happy to report that it works with my non-carrier Google Voice number - yay!


(Chrisb) #10

I’m going to look as how effective it’ll be to use IFTTT plus Alexa to open/close my garage doors.

Right now I’m using Alexa directly to SmartThings, which works, but it isn’t very “natural.” I use three commands:

1.) Turn on Chris’ Garage Door – Alexa always understands this, but it doesn’t sound like natural English of course. Turn on a door??

2.) Open Chris’ Garage Door – Alexa usually understands this, and it sounds natural, but there’s a complication… Alexa will turn on the relay to activate the door regardless of whether it’s open or closed. Likewise:

3.) Close Chris’ Garage Door – Alexa usually understand this, but as with opening, Alexa will turn on the relay even if the door is already closed.

So, here’s my proposed solution: I’ll use an IFTTT trigger to turn on a virtual tile depending on the command:

Alexa, trigger Chris’ Door Open will turn on a virtual tile.
Alexa, trigger Chris’ Door Closed will turn on a different virtual tile.

I’ll modify my UBI app that I already developed before that will activate when those tiles are turned on and take appropriate action. The SmartApp basically checks the status of the door before turning on the relay to only open or close the door if the door is closed or open.

It’s not perfect English of course… the word ‘trigger’ is needed to push the command through IFTTT. I would love to be able to get Alexa to understand custom commands and be able to do events based directly on those (like Ubi can), but I don’t know if that’ll ever happen anytime soon.

Unfortunately Alexa also still can’t say a custom phrase, so I’ll have to push responses through a TTS device.


(Brian) #11

I use it to flip a virtual switch to backup my sunset and sunrise times. No more scheduler woes for me.

I also use it to flip a virtual switch that shows the status of my Rachio. Sometimes I hook up things to not run while my sprinklers are running.

If you go to IFTTT you can also browse recipes by channel and there are some good ST ones there. I get a lot of ideas from browsing IFTTT.


(Bobby) #12

I used to have over 30 recipes, when I was using Wink, Lutron and Harmony hubs, now I only have one. I use a virtual switch with IFTTT Maker to dismiss SHM intruder alerts and its hourly reminders.


(Brian Busch) #13

How did you do this? That would be fantastic to have!


(Bobby) #14

Look at this thread…


(Marc Rohde) #15

I was thinking about using IFTTT to log energy usage from an Aeon Appliance Switch to a Google Spreadsheet but it doesn’t appear to allow me to log the energy property just the state. Any thoughts on if this could be accomplished? I am a newbie so I may be missing something.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #16

@chrisb I’ve seen you post a couple of times about your issues with Alexa and the garage door.

If you don’t mind, how have you got it set up and what garage door opener are you using?

I’ve got the NuTone garage door opener paired directly to ST.
I created a virtual momentary button tile and labeled it “garage door”.
Via the Echo app in ST I gave Echo access to the virtual button only.
I did not give access to the actual garage door opener, even though Echo recognizes it.

To open the door I say, "Alexa, open the garage door"
To close the door I say, “Alexa, close the garage door”

Your posts made me wonder, I’ve never tried to open the door when it was open. And I’ve never tried to close the door while it was closed. So, I gave it a shot and sure enough, if it was closed and I said close the garage door, it opened. Now, that is just unacceptable.

So, I deleted the virtual garage door button for ST and from the Alexa app. My garage door shows up in ST as “Garage door opener”. So, I just renamed that “Garage door”. I have Echo access to it via ST and had Echo perform device discovery.

Now, my garage door is connected to Echo via ST. I do not have any apps running it, no virtual switches, or routines. And now, that little bug is gone. If I tell her to close the already closed door, she just says OK and nothing happens.

Thanks! Bug fixed. Oh, and when I say open or close, it works every time. Amazon changed it a few weeks ago to recognize open and close the door, right about the time they announced the integration with some other garage door opener.


(Chrisb) #17

Hmm… now you’ve got me wondering. I’ll have to do some checking/testing myself when I get home later today.

Maybe I don’t need to use my app at all. My app worked great my with my Ubi but it was a little convoluted and required setting up like 4 virtual tiles as triggers or as Boolean variables (yeah I know Boolean variables can be used in SmartApps, but I needed to be able to pass those true-false conditions to Ubi and virtual tiles were the easiest method to do that).

The Alexa-based version would be a little easier I think but still convoluted. If I can accomplish the same results without need to implement a smart app at all, I’m all for that.

What is the device type that your opener is showing up as in SmartThings?


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #18

So this morning after reading a post that @JDRoberts wrote in a similar thread I remembered why I set mine up with the virtual momentary button.

There is a synching issue when using echo. Echo does not know the state of any switch and will toggle a switch no matter the state of that switch.

ST on the other hand, will not send a signal to open a switch it believes to already be open.

But, since we also use a handheld opener, one built into the car, and the button in the wall, the door will quickly get out of sync.

So, to ensure my door stays in sync, I set up like this.

Create a virtual momentary button
In the echo app give access to this virtual button, not to the actual garage door button.
Create a routine labeled "open garage door"
Create a second routine called "close garage door"
Use the app, Alexa helper, to tie the virtual button to the routines.
Test the system.

With it set up like this it will not get out of sync. But, the door will open/close no matter what you say.

Edit 15 Nov 2015:
Ok, so I ran some more tests on this. With it setup like this ~ no virtual switch. Echo given access to the actual garage door controller switch that is included with the device type, and nothing else. Tell echo to open for, it opens. Manually close door, ST sees that it is closed and changed the state of the switch. Tell echo to open it again and it does.
Also, if the door is open and I tell echo to open it, the door does nothing. It seems that using the stock device type and echo together has resolved the out of sync issue and the wrong response issue.


(Pizzinini) #19

I use IFTTT to turn on my Manything camera (old iphone4) when Smartthings switches to Away mode and off when it switches to Home.


(Chrisb) #20

See here’s why I think my app might help. The idea with my app would be this:

Here’s the basics:

Create virtual buttons:
1.) "Door Open"
2.) "Door Closed"
Give Alexa access to those buttons.

What the app does:
When it sees the “door open” button pressed, it checks the status of the door sensor:

  • If closed, toggle the relay to open the door.
  • If open then send a TTS phrase: "You’re door is already open."
    When it sees the “door closed” button pressed, it checks the status of the door sensor:
  • If open, toggle the relay to close the door.
  • If closed then send a TTS phrase: “You’re door is already closed.”

So Alexia is never actually touching the relay that opens/closes the door, just two virtual switches that run a smartapp that toggles the relay if needed.

BUT… how do we trigger those virtual buttons with Alexa? Two possible ways:

Direct phrase:
“Alexia, turn on close button.”
"Alexia, turn on open button."
This would work, but as you can see it doesn’t “feel” like normal English.

IFTTT Alexa Channel:
“Alexa trigger garage opened.”
"Alexa trigger garage closed."
Really you could use any words you want after the “Alexa trigger…” part. This isn’t perfect either, but it’s closer to natural English.