The chances are, even if you’re new to the smart home game, you’ve probably come across some of the major smart home ecosystems (think Alexa, Google Home, SmartThings, Nest) as well as the main players when it comes to wireless smart home protocols (WiFi, ZigBee, Z-Wave etc).
What you may not be as familiar with however, is the IFTTT service of web-based applets which effectively allow you to set up a home automation system of trigger and response based actions that work between devices and across platforms to achieve a lot of automation smarts.
IFTTT Essentials – What is IFTTT?
Short for ‘If this, then that’, IFTTT is a web service that utilizes what are known as ‘applets’ (once called ‘recipes’) to trigger certain reactions from smart devices in your home in response to an action from another or from another event entirely (for example flashing your smart lights when you receive an email)
In a nutshell, IFTTT is a free service that allows you to to create chains of trigger-response statements (known as applets) which are set into motion upon the detection of ‘triggered’ changes to other web services – this could take the form of changes from another connected smart device, or even from a service tied to your email or social media notifications.
While IFTTT was definitely the first game in town when it comes to mainstream device trigger web-platforms (launching way back in 2011), others have unsurprisingly now entered the market and rival services such as Yonomi, Home Assistant, and Stringify have begun to attract interest from smart home owners.
IFTTT is incredibly popular thanks to both it’s compatibility across the smart home landscape and also due to the incredible simplicity to get it up and running with your devices with minimal effort.
Going Beyond the Smart Home
So it’s probably pretty clear that IFTTT allows for some pretty powerful integrations between the connected devices in your smart home ecosystem.
The true power of IFTTT goes far beyond this inter-device communication though, and allows for a level of flexibility that means you can supercharge your productivity – effectively automating a whole load of tasks, as opposed to simply a whole load of smart home devices.
The ability to tie up services is one of the areas where the power of IFTTT as a productivity and efficiency tool really comes into its own, allowing you to have the completion of one task (say taking an Instagram hashtag) to trigger the completion of another in a different service (using this information to save to Dropbox) – like this.
What are IFTTT Services?
IFTTT services are basically any of the applications or facilities that work with the platform with the available choice of services spanning an impressive (and ever-growing) number or areas.
Services can take the form of areas like weather, time and date, electronics, and (of course) smart home platforms, but also the major web services and platforms such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter
What are IFTTT Applets?
Applets used to be known as ‘Recipes’ in the IFTTT days of old and while the name has changed, the concept remains exactly the same.
The simplest way to think of an Applet is as a combination of services which combine both a trigger and an action to achieve a result.
So if a certain thing happens within one service (for example you receive a social media notification), an action is then triggered on another (for example your smart lights may flash a certain color).
Applets are simply the formulas that you create to say what happens when something else happens.
What Devices are Compatible with IFTTT?
When it comes to the range of smart devices and systems that are IFTTT compatible, the choice is significant.
Factor in the additional smartphone native triggers that can also be tied up with the system and you’ve very quickly got a huge amount of choice for creating an automated IFTTT ecosystem throughout your home.
IFTTT Compatible Smart Devices
The obvious place to start is by looking at the actual smart home devices which can be connected up to an IFTTT applet to extend the connectivity options beyond those it comes with out of the box.
Quite simply, there are now a lot of smart home products that work with IFTTT – many of which are covered here on For the Smart Home in our comprehensive guides – and with this in mind, you’re almost certainly going to have a good degree of IFTTT compatible options in your smart home ecosystem, no matter the brands and products you own.
Smart Lighting – IFTTT Compatible Smart Lights
One of the natural integrations for IFTTT applets is the utilization of the service with smart light bulbs and smart lighting, allowing the combination of event triggered illumination across a wide range of situations.
While the field of smart lighting is growing almost exponentially (and so this list is by no means exhaustive), some of the major players within the IFTTT compatible smart lighting arena include:
- Philips Hue
- Lighwave RF
Smart Controllers – IFTTT Compatible Smart Home Hubs and Voice Controllers
The likes of Amazon and Google have undoubtedly cornered the market with their range of smart voice control hubs and it’s therefore little surprise that there’s a great deal of IFTTT compatibility across both the Alexa enabled devices and Google Assistant controller systems.
These aren’t the last word in smart hubs however, and many of the best hubs and controllers will play equally nice with IFTTT, allowing you to significantly extend the compatibility of devices which are designed to just that by their very nature anyway.
If you own (or are thinking of investing in) a smart hub or voice control device, the following assistants and hubs work with IFTTT:
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Assistant
- Samsung SmartThings
- Microsoft Cortana
Smart Temperature Controllers – IFTTT Compatible Smart Thermostats
The ability to monitor, control, and automate the temperature within the home has become somewhat of an area of mastery within the field of the best smart thermostat devices on the market today.
It’s probably unsurprising therefore that the best smart temperature controllers are also highly compatible not only across the wider smart home device remit, but also with IFTTT.
The following smart thermostat and temperature control systems are IFTTT compatible:
- Nest (Learning Thermostat)
Smart Home Security – IFTTT Compatible Smart Safety and Security Systems
IFTTT connectivity provides some obvious functionality advantages in the sphere of smart home security, allowing triggered responses of devices or notifications if (for example) any unexpected movement or access is attempted around your home.
Similarly, the ability to connect smart smoke detection devices with IFTTT allows for increased cooperation between devices which might otherwise remain separated. It’s easy to see the advantages of smart lights which respond all around the house if smoke or fire are detected in a single room.
Within the remit of smart home security and safety devices, the following brands work with IFTTT: