Make Your Home Smarter and Safer with IFTTT Recipes

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Give your dog a rest! Protect your home by making it smart — Internet-connected devices and these IFTTT recipes let you customize a sophisticated security system on a small budget.

Traditional motion detectors with lights don’t tell you anything. They may startle a potential intruder, but the surprise won’t last long, and it doesn’t provide much of an illusion that someone is home. The same is true of traditional alarm systems: Although they sound a siren, the noise is often ignored by neighbors and even the police due to the high rate of false alarms.

Internet-connected security products are changing that game, tilting the odds in your favor. With the ability to remotely monitor your home, control smart home devices, and customize the interactions between them, there’s no such thing as “No one’s home.” You can answer your doorbell from Timbuktu (as long as there’s internet).

IFTTT, an automation platform that allows you to connect products in your home, can help you achieve never levels of safety and security around your home. Here’s a look at some of the best IFTTT recipes for home security.

Lights, Camera, Action!

The first step in deterring burglars from breaking into your home is to make it look like you are home. You can accomplish this with lights that turn on automatically, or that you control remotely. The Hue lights from Phillips offer these conveniences, with integrated IFTTT capability. You can set a Hue light to automatically turn on at sunset if it’s connected to the Weather Channel app, or to always turn on when you leave home.

To create a more convincing illusion that someone is at home (or at least let a potential intruder know they’re being monitored), you can link actions of various devices and sensors. For example, you can set Hue lights to turn on when someone presses the SkyBell HD doorbell. Using the Scout alarm, you can set Hue lights to blink when a door is opened, notifying an intruder that the home is being monitored.

On-demand video

Using IFTTT, you can set conditions for when to record video. If you have Amazon’s Echo, the smart home companion with the Alexa voice service, you can tell Alexa to record video of your front doorway from the SkyBell HD.

Avoid False Alerts

To avoid false notifications, you can use your phone’s location to automatically disable connected security products when you arrive home. For example, with the Scout Alarm, you use an Android phone’s location to disable the system when you arrive home.

Stay aware of what’s happening at your door

But there’s no need to wait for a security camera inside your house to detect motion. You can have an alert sent to your iOS or Android device whenever someone presses the SkyBell HD door bell or triggers the motion sensor. Or, as an alternate to the alert within the SkyBell app, you could have IFTTT send an email instead.

Safety

Preventing a burglary isn’t the only role of today’s new wave of IFTTT-enabled security products for the smart home. Smoke- and carbon monoxide-detection are also important. Like the flexibility of notifications from motion detectors, the same flexibility applies to these safety features. The Nest can send you a notification or make an emergency call if it detects smoke. The same is true if it detects carbon monoxide. If you prefer, you also can have it turn on Hue lights or change their color. Also, upon detecting smoke or carbon monoxide, the Nest Protect can tell your SkyBell HD to change its LED color to red and blink the light – alerting someone at the front door that the home is not safe.

In the end, the do-it-yourself nature of home automation security products means you can design the system you want, with only the features you need. There’s no need to pay extra for an all-in-one bundle that’s overkill. With the convenience of remote monitoring and notifications, plus the flexibility of IFTTT recipes, you’ll always know your home is protected.

Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas (@apthomas) is a co-founder of SkyBell – a smart home security company that is making homes and neighborhoods safer – starting with the front door. The SkyBell Video Doorbell allows homeowners to see, hear and speak to the visitor at their door from a smartphone. Learn more: www.skybell.com

SkyBell has raised millions in funding, was named as a 2014 CES Innovations Award Nominee and is sold via Amazon, Best Buy and Home Depot. Andrew is responsible for SkyBell’s strategy, partnerships and business development – leading SkyBell’s integration plans with Honeywell, Nest, Alarm.com, Amazon Echo, Apple, Comcast and IFTTT.

Before SkyBell, Andrew directed web and mobile development projects for clients after beginning his career as a member of Google’s search engine team and later providing SEO services. A sense of adventure led him to Shanghai, China where he managed web development projects for a large Chinese video game company. Andrew graduated from USC with a BBA in Finance.

Andrew shares his experience and expertise by writing and speaking. His articles have appeared on Forbes, Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com and Huffington Post – covering topics including startups, the Internet of Things, crowdfunding and personal growth. Andrew has been interviewed on national TV, print and industry podcasts. He is regarded as a top IoT expert and one of the rising stars in the smart home space.