Some of you may be familiar with IFTTT and IF, the customization app that allows you to set up handy shortcuts using recipes involving apps and given actions. The app, compatible with iOS and Android, is also available for use on Amazon’s intelligent speaker and home companion, Echo. IFTTT added functionality that will allow you to set up actions, tie them to certain words or phrases, called triggers, and use them as voice commands for the Amazon Echo. The Echo’s core software, Alexa, is akin to Google Now, Siri and Cortana, but with a few extra bells and whistles like complex phrasing and home automation. New functions and apps are being put on the little bluetooth speaker that could with each passing day, bringing it closer and closer to being the must-have centerpiece to any futuristic home.
IFTTT already works closely with Alexa, allowing set commands to be redefined with relative ease. This new function allows you to set up triggers, or custom phrases that activate user-defined functions. Examples could be as simple as saying “Alexa, Trigger Find My Phone” to locate your mobile device, to setting the temperature on your Nest thermostat. The possibilities are basically endless and the list grows larger each day, since IFTTT works by using the internet to create an unorthodox link between two apps or a voice action and an app, along with apps’ in-app activities. Things like taking a picture or focusing the camera, playing certain songs and launching a game then beaming it to your Chromecast are all possibilities.
Amazon’s Echo, with help from IFTTT and other external apps, is slowly turning into an end-all-be-all smart home automation solution, especially with smart doorbells, thermostats and appliances all being brought on board. Paired with web search and action functionality similar to Google Now, as well as Amazon’s trademark shopping prowess, Echo may well be all the connected homeowner needs to keep things running smoothly in the coming years as adoption grows and developers become less hesitant to approach the fledgling platform. Along with Amazon’s buttons that allow automatic ordering of staples that have run low and the normal web shopping service to fill in the gaps, one could theoretically use Amazon’s services to never leave home aside from work, doctor visits, nights out and the like.