I’ve recently become intrigued by home automation. By home automation, I mean being able to control and monitor objects around the house remotely. I’m not talking about making the vacuum run itself, I’m talking about controlling the thermostat, lights, and appliances. It’s an entirely new world to me, with the possibilities still a little fuzzy in my understanding.
So the first thing I did to help me better understand the concept was to buy a Belkin WeMo Switch. This could best be described as a plug that plugs in. But the plug that plugs in actually has a little WiFi network. It was easy to configure and I had it up and running in a matter of minutes. It took longer to figure out where to plug it in than to set it up.
What does it do? Well, it connects to my home WiFi and allows me, with the WeMo App, to control the power to the switch from my SmartPhone and Tablet. Needless to say, my wife was not terribly impressed with the fact that I could turn a light in my house on and off, on and off, and on and off, from my iPhone. But the coolness is that I can do it from anywhere… and that means anything I plug into the WeMo switch can be controlled from my iPhone. In addition, you can create and add many, many different rules of when it turns on and off.
The Belkin WeMo Switch is cool, but then…
Then I discovered IFTTT! IfThisThenThat!! IFTTT is a website that’s been around for a couple of years. I’ve heard of it but ignored it. But when I saw it described as one of the ways I could control my WeMo Switch, I took note. IFTTT lets you create “recipes” of scenarios that may occur in your technology world. So, by connecting my WeMo Switch with IFTTT, I can now tell my switch to turn on at sunset, or turn off when I leave the house, or… or… or… If you think of the scenario, the recipe can be developed.
But IFTTT doesn’t stop at a little ol’ plug in the wall. IFTTT can have recipes for just about any technology site and/or app you can think of. How about having any Instagram Photo you take be automatically sent to your Flickr account? How about having a text message sent to yourself every morning with the weather forecast? How about having your new blog post be posted on Twitter? There are literally thousands of recipes available, and you can also build your own.
Now all this new-to-me information about IFTTT and WeMo and blah, blah, blah is revolving around one single, simple plug in my house. But of course, there are WeMo Light Switches, Motion Sensors, Cameras, and more. The possibilities are endless.
And WeMo is just the tip of the iceberg. Z-Wave… here I come.