I am, and have been for some time, a fan of automation. I automate as much as I can with a limited budget (see any blog or reference to having more than one child) and wherever possible like to be able to control such automation from my phone.
I have a pair of Foscam web cams at home that I’ve linked via a VeraLite bridge to my front door lock such that when my door is opened with an official code, I get a text on my phone and can record several seconds of video of whoever enters my house.
I’ve also mentioned that I’m a Product Manager and currently a fan of GWT thinking (Given, When, Then). So it should come as no surprise that I’ve been enjoying a level of phone automation that has recently taken a step forward into greater flexibility and extensibility with IFTTT (If This, Then That).
IFTTT is an open source way to connect a trigger event with an action. There’s a good level of support (108 or so channels as of this writing) and a growing community – so if a program you use isn’t supported, wait or support it yourself!
I am also (for my sins) an Android user and the android app is just as slick as the original iphone app. Setting up a new sequence, or recipe, is pretty much plug and play – select from the list of supported applications and their triggers, then select a supporting application and an effect. Or you can download an existing one from the library.
This can feel a little limiting at first – one of the first things I wanted to do was chain events such that one trigger fired multiple events (leaving work, send a text to my wife and start Google Play Music) or multiple triggers (AND operator) would cause something to happen (if its morning during the week, and the weather forecast is for rain, and I’m still at home, remind me to take an umbrella). But once you’ve worked with it for a little while, you see it’s really not that limiting and most of your scenarios are covered with the two available steps with a little creative thinking.
Overall, I’m loving this. I’ve tried AutomateIt for a while too and prefer the simplicity and open-source nature of IFTTT a little more. There’s no hidden costs and you don’t have to pay to unlock anything (on the Android version at least, I can’t speak to the iPhone version).