Inside iOS 9: Apple brings IFTTT-like functionality to HomeKit with Event Triggers

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2015
With HomeKit-compatible accessories finally hitting the market, Apple has added new capabilities to its home automation platform in iOS 9 to make smart bulbs, locks, and garage door openers easier to manage and more powerful --?including the ability to define IFTTT-style event chains with new Event Triggers.




If there's one thing about the smart home revolution that most consumers can agree on, it's that we want our homes to be better at thinking for themselves. It's the twenty-first century; why should we have to fumble around in the dark for a switch because we forgot to leave a light on when we went out for dinner? Tony Stark had the right idea.

We've tried to solve these problems in many ways. The Clapper. Motion-sensitive fixtures. Philips Hue.

Unfortunately, these all have problems. The Clapper is just ridiculous, and motion-sensitive lights have no contextual awareness. Smart bulbs are better, but they still can't talk to the rest of your house without some third-party trickery.

This is what Apple wants to solve with HomeKit, and it's taking a step forward with Event Triggers.

HomeKit's initial release brought scenes -- quick ways to set a bunch of parameters for different smart devices at the same time. A "come home" scene might turn on the lights in your hallway and lower the thermostat, for instance.





How does your house know that you've come home? Right now, it doesn't --?unless you have the perfect combination of equipment that can all communicate with each other through a service like IFTTT. So instead, you whip out your iPhone while you're in the garage and tap "I'm home."

With Event Triggers in iOS 9, you don't have to. Any HomeKit device that can be added to a scene can be triggered by events from another HomeKit device, with no external service required.

Event Triggers can also be fired by geofences, and conditioned upon the time of day or the status of a specific HomeKit accessory.

That means you'll be able to fire the "come home" scene when the garage door opens. Or automatically turn on the lights in your master bathroom when you walk into your bedroom at night, but leave them off during the day.

Or open the blinds in your bedroom at 7 a.m. if you haven't moved yet. Good morning, Mr. Stark.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    This HomeKit stuff is very cool and interesting. I'm planning to build it into my new house, but I wonder if it is more trouble setting up all the scenes and adjusting them as conditions change than it would be to just do it yourself as we've been doing forever. I mean I really don't ever say to myself, boy it would be nice if I didn't have get up and open the curtains in the morning, just press a button on my iPhone.

  • Reply 2 of 40

    What the heck is IFTTT?

  • Reply 3 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     

    What the heck is IFTTT?


     

    Seriously? It's an App called "If This Then That". You set up conditions and when those conditions occur it will perform some action for you.

  • Reply 4 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

     

    Seriously? It's an App called "If This Then That". You set up conditions and when those conditions occur it will perform some action for you.




    That's only four letters.

     

    Besides, with 1.5 million apps in the store, it's hard to keep up. I remember when there were 500.

  • Reply 5 of 40
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,353member
    Event Triggers and user profiles are going to make this version of Homekit the one that should be delivered.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    That's only four letters.

     

    Besides, with 1.5 million apps in the store, it's hard to keep up. I remember when there were 500.




    the if is the if.

     

    its a pretty huge app, though

  • Reply 7 of 40
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    joelsalt wrote: »

    the if is the if.

    its a pretty huge app, though

    Actually, it started on the web, then came the app: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IFTTT

    The author should not have assumed readers knew what IFTTT was.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    friedmudfriedmud Posts: 163member
    One thing these things need to get better about is MULTIPERSON contextual awareness.

    I use IFTTT to turn my Hue lights on when I come home... But it doesn't take into account what my wife is up to. If I ran out to grab some donuts early in the morning then IFTTT will happily blast all the lights in my house when I return... A rather rude awakening for my wife!

    Skylark ( http://www.skylarkios.com ) is the best smart home app I have seen in this regard. It uses the built-in geofencing capability of iOS to know whether each person in your house is still at home or away... and then only adjusts the thermostat if everyone has left. Really cool.

    Going forward I hope to see more stuff like this... and hopefully Homekit will be a platform for innovative ideas like this. We'll see.
  • Reply 9 of 40



    hopefully its more than if then that testing, and has some more logic, including status that can be checked from another location?

    i assume home kit will work even if you have more than one hub (apple etc) deployed in different geographical locations?

  • Reply 10 of 40
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by friedmud View Post



    One thing these things need to get better about is MULTIPERSON contextual awareness.



    I use IFTTT to turn my Hue lights on when I come home... But it doesn't take into account what my wife is up to. If I ran out to grab some donuts early in the morning then IFTTT will happily blast all the lights in my house when I return... A rather rude awakening for my wife!



    Skylark ( http://www.skylarkios.com ) is the best smart home app I have seen in this regard. It uses the built-in geofencing capability of iOS to know whether each person in your house is still at home or away... and then only adjusts the thermostat if everyone has left. Really cool.



    Going forward I hope to see more stuff like this... and hopefully Homekit will be a platform for innovative ideas like this. We'll see.



    I had the same concerns about multi-person control. With ?TV as the hub it has to be logged in with the same Apple ID as the iPhone. I supposed Apple wants you to buy a second ?TV for your spouse.

  • Reply 11 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     



    I had the same concerns about multi-person control. With ?TV as the hub it has to be logged in with the same Apple ID as the iPhone. I supposed Apple wants you to buy a second ?TV for your spouse.


    so what about when you have several apple tv, situated miles apart, and that maybe your kids have signed in under their account on one - it would still have to function as your hub for home kit.

  • Reply 12 of 40
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Actually, it started on the web, then came the app: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IFTTT



    The author should not have assumed readers knew what IFTTT was.

    Good points, both (though I meant "app" in the broadest possible sense)

  • Reply 13 of 40
    jackkujackku Posts: 3member
    What is smart about it?
    You would have to program the triggers yourself, else it does nothing.

    If it was smart, it would define triggers it self.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    markbritonmarkbriton Posts: 119member
    I use IFTTT with my Hue bulbs. I really hope Homekit will include the sunset and sunrise triggers depending on location, it's a great way to control when lights turn on and off and means I don't have to change the times when it's summer or winter. I also like the weather triggers; when it's cold my lights have a more red/orange tone and when it's hot they change to bluer tones. One of my lamps lets me know whether there's rain in forecast by changing colour. Location awareness isn't so important; I don't want my family to be plunged into darkness if I leave the house!
  • Reply 15 of 40



    Ah, the Clapper. When those commercials came out, I imagined a scenario where someone puts their TV on a Clapper, then when the TV commercial comes on, it turns off your TV whether you liked it or not! :p 

  • Reply 16 of 40
    Thank heavens it may soon be possible to switch the light on in my master bedroom when I enter, at the cost of only a measly iPhone, a new internet-enabled switch, an electrician's visit, a home hub, some get-your-head-around-it time, some programming time, additional always-on power usage adding to global warming and my bills, and the slight nuisance of repairing all the damage done when some hacker decides to abuse the inevitable security loopholes to virtually break into my home and wreak havok.

    It's that exhausting stretch of my right arm as I enter currently that I just can't bear to have to put up with a moment longer. Roll on Brave New World.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    I'm still unclear where you set up these homes, rooms and scenes. If you have lights from company A and garage door from company B and each need their own app, how/where do you combine them into a scene?
  • Reply 18 of 40

    Hey, quit picking on The Clapper! That thing was light years ahead of its time and was nothing but pure genius. 

  • Reply 19 of 40
    jackku wrote: »
    What is smart about it?
    You would have to program the triggers yourself, else it does nothing.

    If it was smart, it would define triggers it self.

    incorrect. by that curious definition smart tags and smart folders aren't smart because you had to define them first.

    no. the smart part happens after they've been defined and they function as desired.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    Thank heavens it may soon be possible to switch the light on in my master bedroom when I enter, at the cost of only a measly iPhone, a new internet-enabled switch, an electrician's visit, a home hub, some get-your-head-around-it time, some programming time, additional always-on power usage adding to global warming and my bills, and the slight nuisance of repairing all the damage done when some hacker decides to abuse the inevitable security loopholes to virtually break into my home and wreak havok.

    It's that exhausting stretch of my right arm as I enter currently that I just can't bear to have to put up with a moment longer. Roll on Brave New World.

    your scenario is inaccurate and limited in conception.
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