Device Manufacturers and Automakers finally join the connected device ecosystem using IFTTT
This year I had the opportunity to not only attend CES but also exhibit at the GENIVI Showcase event held nearby at the Trump Hotel. The GENIVI Showcase is an exclusive event allowing members of the GENIVI Alliance, a nonprofit industry consortium advancing the broad adoption of open source in-vehicle infotainment, to showcase their latest technologies and innovations to software manufacturers, automotive manufactures, middleware and hardware providers.
While it may seem that both shows are wildly different, in actuality, CES and the GENIVI Connected Car Showcase both carried the distinct theme of connectivity and even more importantly, the focus on the integration of IFTTT (If This Then That) into our smart devices and vehicles. On the most granular level, IFTTT is a web-based service that allows you to customize a set of simple triggers to occur between one piece of software and another. In the context of our day-to-day connected devices, IFTTT is the established communication between them, allowing our phones, car and homes to work together in automating a variety of processes. A great example of this is Piper Home Security Systems, which, once associated with your home wifi and your smart device, is triggered to turn on once the smart device leaves a certain radius away from the house. Looking back at both CES and GENIVI, here are my favorite IFTTT implementations that are changing the way our connected devices interact.
Of all the smart devices that can benefit from IFTTT, no better candidate comes to mind than the connected car. At GENIVI, Ford showcased IFTTT integrated into their infotainment unit called Sync. This allowed drivers to automatically unlock their home smart lock when pulling up to the house, turn on their NEST to the correct temperature ten minutes before arriving, and even send out a text saying you just arrived to friends and family. Although these are basic implementations of IFTTT, it wont be long before complex triggers will allow your car to interact with your smart fridge and in car GPS to remind you that you’re out of milk as you pass the grocery market.
Roost Batteries, a crowd funded smart battery that connected your smoke detector to your wifi and issued push notifications when activated, was arguably limited in its appeal when it first launched in November of last year. At CES though, Roost surprised me by announcing that in late January their battery would be IFTTT enabled, allowing Roost batteries to take on proactive measures of safety when triggered such as turning off electrical devices that are plugged into your WeMo smart switches and flashing your Philips Hue lights red as a warning to leave the premise. Within a few short months Roost exponentially expanded its appeal to the smart home savvy consumer without changing their devices or releasing new hardware.
One smart device that sparked my interest and curiosity at the show was the Parrot Flower Power. Parrot, which is typically known for hands free devices for vehicles, showcased a small device you place next to your plants to track soil moisture, light levels, and temperature. Now integrated with IFTTT, your plant can tweet or email you that it needs water or more light or just autonomously water itself and turn on the light that’s plugged into your WeMO smart switches. Yes, this is an extremely odd implantation of IFTTT, but showcased how even the most niche of connected devices can benefit from the web service.
Wearable’s had a large presence at this year CES and predominantly focused on fitness as in the years prior. While fitness tracker manufacturers like Fitbit and Misfit announced IFTTT support, Jawbone stuck out to me as a game changer in the hotly contested space. While fitness trackers have excelled at tracking steps, heart rate and calorie burn, one area that it has always faltered was in tracking caloric intake. Typically a manual process, Jawbone announced at CES that through IFTTT support, that not only could your Jawbone turn off the lights when you go for a run and the other typical smart home chain of actions, but could also log your meals when eating out by simply checking into Foursquare and selecting your meal. Within a few short taps you not only accurately track what you consumed for the day but could update it with restaurant nutrition values and more.
IF CES and GENIVI, THAN all our connected devices and vehicles
CES 2016 and the GENIVI Showcase were unlike any other tradeshows I have attended in the past. Sure, exhibitors still announced and launched thousands of products within the 3-day period but this time their products did not exist within a confined bubble nor expect attendees to use them in a siloed experience. The current implementations of IFTTT and the untold potential of its uses in our day-to-day lives were truly the highlights. Exhibitors stressed the interactivity between not only you and their new devices but your entire connected device ecosystem. This mentality also transcended into the connected car market at the GENIVI EVENT as auto manufacturers and software providers routinely spoke with me about the automations and value added services IFTTT could provide their drivers both on and off the road in the near future. A new era of connected devices and vehicles is coming and if CES and GENIVI are any indicators, the connected ecosystem will be far more than a buzzword.