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If this then that

Don’t know whether, in your travels, you’ve come across IFTTT.

If you program at all, you know “if” statements. Well, IFTTT stands for “If this then that”, and, in their own words:

Is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement.

It’s a bit on the cutesy side, but it is very easy to use, and is really making a simple form of object oriented programming accessible to “amateurs”. The concept uses what they call “Channels” as building blocks. Channels – and there are dozens of them – include social apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr,  as well as tools like Evernote, Dropbox, and Campfire, news sites – NY Times, ESPN, and BuzzFeed – and  online sellers like Craigslist and Etsy.  You create something called a “Recipe” that lays out an action to take in one channel when something specific happens in another of your channels.  There are a lot of shared “Recipes” out there – e.g., one that says that” if there’s breaking NBA news on ESPN, then send me a text message.”

While a lot of the Channels are of the social-tools-news variety, there are a few out there in the Internet of Things (IoT) category: Phillips hue (lighting control) and Belkin’s WeMo home-automation system.  (I’m waiting for the NEST thermostat to become a Channel!)

My view of interoperability in the IoT is that at first the only products that will be interoperable will be those from the same manufacturer. However, IFTTT is perfectly positioned, as it adds IoT “thing” channels, to bridge these IoT things together and make them interoperable without the individual manufacturers having to specifically work with each other.

I don’t see the complex applications that our SoMs work in being “objectified” in this way quite yet, but IFTTT is definitely the type of application that is really going to drive the IoT in the future.