IFTTT (acronym for “If This Then That”) is an automation platform that communicates between different apps, web services, and devices to trigger user-specific actions through Applets. This free service allows you to connect your favourite services that you use everyday together such as Amazon Alexa for searching the web or Dropbox for sharing files with colleagues. It is also an easy way to introduce automation into your life so that you can skip the tedious daily tasks and get more important things done. tecla-e is compatible with IFTTT, which means that certain tasks that once required a caregiver to perform can now be easily customized by the user to provide quadriplegics with independence and control over their environment.
The first thing you need to know about using IFTTT after downloading the app and creating an account is what an Applet is. Applets are a trigger to action relationship that perform a task or create a personalized notification when certain conditions are met. Once you create and activate the Applet, IFTTT does all the behind the scenes work without you having to remember it again. You can also turn Applets on and off and edit and share them with the IFTTT community.
If you want to make a custom Applet, think of the phrase “if this exists, then do that.” For example, IFTTT makes automating the lighting of your home simple through Applets. So, one Applet could be if it is 7:00am, then turn on the Philips Hue bedroom light”. Applets can serve to be functional or fun, but most importantly, make tasks possible with hands-free technology.
The screenshot above is what the IFTTT app looks like. When you open up the app, the first page called “Discover” will recommend popular Applets such as “Add an event in Google Calendar for every reminder you create on your iPhone” or “Have your Hue lights turn off automatically at sunrise.” There are millions of Applets that have been created through IFTTT so it’s not necessary to always create custom Applets for all the services you use.
Another important IFTTT feature is known as a Widget. Widgets are button shortcuts that enable you to run certain Applets on your iOS or Android device, meaning you can start an Applet without opening any apps. On iOS devices, allow IFTTT to show up in your on the Widgets page when you swipe left from the Home Page. Some widgets include toggling a WeMo Switch, dimming Philips Hue lights, start a Harmony activity and more.
If you’re not convinced that allowing a service to automate your life is worthwhile, or think it’s too tech-savvy for you, here are some benefits of IFTTT:
- It adds independence
- It makes you less forgetful (set an Applet and forget about it)
- Automation saves time
- Certain Applets makes you more accountable for schedules
- Some Applets makes you more knowledgeable (e.g. There is a Wikipedia Applet that sends you a weekly vocabulary digest)
- IFTTT allows you to get the most out of services you already use (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Nest Thermostat, etc.)
- It’s free
Visit the website for a complete list of services compatible with IFTTT and sign up for a free account to get you started.