The Customizable Way to Automate Your Home | IFTTT Review

The Customizable Way to Automate Your Home | IFTTT Review


I-F-T-T-T stands for if, this, then, that. I-F-T-T-T or IFTTT if
you’re one of the cool kids has been around for a few years, so you may have heard of it already. If not, then it’s an
important thing to know about if you’re interested in making your home and your life really
smarter and more automated. So, today we’re gonna talk
about what IFTTT is in theory and also what it is is reality. Let’s dive in. (bright music) So don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy what we do here on this channel and hit that bell icon ’cause we’re here every
Monday, Wednesday and Friday with new videos much like this one. Alright, so, what is IFTTT? Or,
I don’t know, am I cool kid, should I be calling it
IFTTT, we’ll see as we go. Well, in theory, let’s talk
about what it is in theory. IFTTT, if, this, then, that. It’s a phrase that makes a lot of sense if you’re a computer programmer, otherwise you might not
have heard it much before, at least in this context. Basically, you set up a
condition, that’s your if this, like say, the sun sets is your condition, the then that portion is the result. So in this case, maybe it’s
turn the porch light on. So you put the two things together and it says, if the sun sets, then turn the porch light on. Each of those formulas
is called an applet, at least for I of TT, you can choose from
thousands of pre-made applets or you can make your own, simple enough. So that’s the concept. IFTTT itself, the brand
name thing, is an app. It’s available on phones,
tablets, laptops, whatever, and it acts as a third-party go between, a software that lets other software and devices talk to each other when they wouldn’t
normally be able to do so. For example, the first
thing I ever used IFTTT for, well, I use Reddit a lot, but they wouldn’t send
me a push notification every time there’s a new post
on a specific sub-Reddit. With IFTTT, I can tell it to do just that. I just say if or IFFTTT
there’s a new post, then send me a push notification. It ties Reddit and my
phone together in a way that they weren’t necessarily designed for or another social media use case. You ever post a photo to Instagram and then you try to share
that post on Twitter and then Twitter won’t share the image, they just share a link and it
gets a little bit frustrating, well, with IFTTT, you can get around that so that every time you post on Instagram, it’ll post the same
photo to Twitter as well. Great, now, yeah, I know
you can also do that with something like Hootsuite, this is just an example and it
works on the same principle, so what about home automation? Maybe I want to voice
control my sprinklers. Fun, right, well, okay, so then I get the rain machine controller that has IFTTT integration, then I can tell my Google Assistant to turn the sprinklers on or off or maybe I’ll get the sky drop system and that’ll let me set up an applet that says if the forecast calls for rain, then stop watering for that day or I pair my sprinklers
with the facial recognition in my doorbell camera so that if my annoying
neighbor comes by again, then my sprinklers will
turn on and chase him away, so in theory, this all
sounds pretty great, right, in practice, honestly, yeah it does work. It requires a lot of parts all
working together perfectly, though, and if just one link
in the chain of apps or devices isn’t working quite right, the
whole thing can break down. That being said, it does generally work
pretty much as advertised. What isn’t advertised, of course, are the limitations in the
system, and there are a few. It’s completely cloud-based, so there are lots of
commands passing through the IFTTT servers at the same time. So if enough people are issuing
commands at the same time, bandwidth issues could cause some lag. Now a physical hub, like
the Smart Things hub could solve for that since it does all the computing locally
on a device in your home, but honestly, this hasn’t
been much of a problem for me with IFTTT because I’m
not a really heavy user, but if you get really into IFTTT though, this could be an issue. Also, IFTTT only allows for a single-step. So other competing software, sometimes allows for two
or three-step commands. For example, if I enter a new
event on my Google Calendar, I want a reminder sent to me in Slack and I want my Philips Hue light bulb to turn red for some reason. I don’t know, whatever
you want to do with it. But in some competing systems like Zapier, for example, you can set
those multi-step commands and they’re built right in. With IFTTT, you have to
program a separate applet for each and every command, and finally, the compatibility
list of devices and apps that work with IFTTT is
changing all the time and that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s constantly improving. For example, as of about a month ago, Nest devices no longer work with IFTTT, so IFTTT you were counting on
that stuff to work for you, well, too bad, poof, it’s gone. – -Nooooooo!– So what gives? Well, obviously Google wants you on their Google Assistant platform, and that sort of shuffling
happens fairly frequently, so is IFTTT the best
option for home automation? Nah, probably not. IFTTT is, in my opinion, better for mostly web-based applications. Social media, emails, calendars, so on. For actual products in your home, if you’re trying to build a smart home, I’d probably steer you
more toward a physical hub like the Samsung Smart Things or any number of security systems that have a hub built right in. They work with things
like Zigbee and Z-Wave, kind of on the same principle but on a different type of
network that’s more localized, maybe a little better for
what we’re trying to do with smart home stuff. So hit the comments below and let me know what
your favorite applets are or commands that you’ve used with IFTTT or if it’s something that you
plan on using in the future and don’t forget to give this video a like and subscribe if it was helpful to you. Thanks for watching everybody. I’ll see you next time.

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