(Internet Of) Things Are Really Getting Interesting With IFTTT

by Jack Sommer

You may already know about the magic of If This Then That, it is a service that helps make your life easier. IFTTT accomplishes this through "recipes" - which are simple (code) connections between products and apps. For example, if you post a picture on Instagram than it can automatically save it to Dropbox. Thousands of these recipes are added everyday for you to choose, or you can easily customize your own. Over a million people use it daily.

Currently, Amazon's Alexa IoT product is utilizing IFTTT to great success. For example, right now 56,000 people have installed a simple recipe for Alexa where you say "find my phone" and she will call your phone for you. Traditional stores are getting in on the fun. Tesco, a giant British supermarket chain, has now partnered with IFTTT to integrate the services into their online shopping experience. This includes tracking the price of a product when it falls below a certain price and automatically adding it to your cart for purchase. All done automatically, all delivered to your home, via this simple service.

We were comparing the Alexa recipes to the Tesco ones and noticed something interesting. With Alexa, monitoring of the changing temperature outside is mostly limited to equations that involve adjusting your Nest thermostat. Tesco has taken that idea beyond Nest, however, and brought it into a food retail realm that sees things differently. One of the recipes in the Tesco section says that if the forecast for weather is over 85 degrees for five days, than you can put in an order for a pack of popsicles. Advanced settings could be integrated further, so that excess amounts aren't auto-purchased in a row, and more intricate recognition patterns will continue to be added as the technology begins to grow. Now, (Internet Of) things are really getting interesting.

Imagine having 20 different actions in your home and daily life automated each day. Companies that try and push a prescribed use of IoT (Internet Of Things), will never be able to cover all of the nuances. The real magic is when the customization comes into play instead. In a 2013 Forbes article, the writer said, "There aren't easy ways to make the devices work as one system if you wanted to trigger an event after an event." And now, here we are. It's possible and you can make it your way. 

Traditional grocery retail is a big step for integrating IFTTT, but it won't end there - think about a construction company having connected toolboxes that order nails when a sensor compartment feels the weight of the nails. All these reasons are why IFTTT is so successful and makes sense across so many different platforms and individual preferences. It's retail, it's hardware, it's IoT, it's customized... it's everything! 

If this is the future, then we're ready for it.