IFTTT, the web service frequently used to link disparate smart-home devices and services (the acronym stands for If This Then That), has opened its platform to allow third-party partners to integrate the service into their own services and apps. This should enable IFTTT to expand its user base beyond the 1.4 million enthusiasts who are already using the service.
Smart-home device users who own products such as the Ring video doorbell, LIFX smart bulbs, the Foobot indoor air monitor, and the Garagio smart garage-door operator will gain the capability to use IFTTT recipes directly from their product's apps starting Wednesday. You’ll still need to sign up for an IFTTT account if you don’t have one, but you'll be able to do that without leaving the third-party device's app.
“It lets them tell the story now,” said CEO Linden Tibbets. “A good analogy is to think of how PayPal handles payment…. We want to be that standard for asking and granting access from one service to another.”
A number of third-party manufacturers have been testing the integration in private beta for close to a year. But Tibbets said that developers can connect their products to any of the 330-plus partners for these in-app recipes.
“It allows partners to update their apps frequently and find new ways to add value to their customers,” he said.
This move could is likely to accelerate IFTTT usage in connected homes. Forty million recipes have already been created, but a majority of IFTTT’s use centers around social media automation. With no clear de facto standard for smart-home devices to talk to each other without the expense of a central hub, there is an opening for IFTTT.
Why this matters: Product interoperability is the smart home's Achilles heel. It's just too difficult to make sure your smart light bulbs work with your smart locks, your smart thermostat and your home security camera and so on and so on. Many have turned to IFTTT as a stopgap, but you have to be savvy to not just its ways but the disparate user interfaces of all the products you want to chain together with it. Integrating IFTTT directly into third-party product apps could make this accessible to a whole lot more people.