Make Amazon Echo Better with IFTTT

Amazon Echo is still such a new technology that many people are still feeling out how best to use it. You can use the device to quickly get movie show times, check for items on your calendar and even play Spotify (with a Premium account).

If you play around with Echo long enough, you’ll find that Alexa is quite helpful, despite some quirks. Where the tech really shines is when you connect it to IFTTT. It’s one service Amazon’s device actually plays nice with, which is a big plus.

A Workaround

Plenty of Amazon Echo users have been frustrated by the number of services and devices they can’t connect with, or that simply don’t work well at all with the new tech. Thanks to IFTTT, there’s a workaround for this problem.

Since IFTTT plays nicely with all kinds of third-party solutions, and Echo gets along with it, you make the most of the relationship. This means you can access Caleo, D-Link Motion Sensor, GE Appliances Cooking, LIFX and more, instead of waiting for Amazon to work out the kinks.

Control Your Lights

Plenty of people have Philips Hue or Lifx bulbs in their home. After making that kind of an investment, and then shelling out for the Echo, it’s not fun to learn that there’s no way to directly connect the two.

As you’ve probably guessed, this is where IFTTT comes in. By creating a new recipe, you can control the amount and color of your lighting, without even touching a device. You can even configure things to run a preset scene, helping to set just the right mood for whatever occasion.

If you really want to leverage the tech, tie the alarm function on Echo with an IFTTT recipe to transition the color of the lights in one or more rooms. It can be a great way to wake up or not miss an important alert, instead of just depending on an audible alarm.

Remember Things on the Fly

While Echo is designed to help you make lists and remember things, you likely already use an app like Evernote, Todoist or iOS Reminders on your mobile device. That puts you at a serious disadvantage when you’re not at home, because all those lists you made are inaccessible, like when you’re at the grocery store and can’t remember if you have any eggs or cheese.

Again, IFTTT bridges the gap, because you can create recipes that add any items from your lists to the apps you take with you everywhere.

The same holds true for to-do items you tell Alexa to remember.

Never Misplace Your Phone, At Least Not For Long

It’s embarrassing, but at least every once in a while you’ll misplace your phone at home. Maybe you were tired and left it somewhere, your kids decided to play a game and hide it, or you’re just really absentminded.

Whatever the reason, you can quickly find it by setting up an IFTTT recipe to set off an alert on the phone. Of course, your recipe can be configured however you prefer, like saying “Alexa, trigger locate my phone” and the tech does the rest.

This means all you have to do is follow the sound from your phone. The only big drawback is that iOS users can only have a push notification sent or have the app call the device. And if you have the bad luck of losing your phone when it’s on vibrate only, locating it will be a bit harder. Android users are more fortunate because it’s possible to configure a recipe that will turn on the ringer and jack the volume all the way up.

Even if you do have an iPhone, this feature is nice to have at your disposal, should you ever need it.

Manage Your House Without Lifting a Finger

By pairing Amazon Echo with IFTTT, there’s almost no end to the ways you can conveniently manage your smart home. You’ll have to look at the compatible apps for the service, then find different hardware that works with those apps. For example, buy smart locks that work with SmartThings. Create a recipe for locking all of the exterior door locks at once. Then if you’re not sure you remembered to lock the front door after checking the mail, all you have to do is tell Alexa to trigger all the door locks and you’re covered.

You can also manage things in the kitchen from an entirely different section of the house. For example, the WeMo Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker lets you create recipes like having the app send an email when the timer is done, or automatically switching the mode to keep warm. With Amazon Echo, you can push a notification through Alexa, or like with timers have the lights in a room change color, brighten or dim along with an audible alert, that way you don’t miss when your dinner is ready.

The possibilities are too many to list out when you connect Amazon Echo to IFTTT. New apps are constantly being released, making it possible to manage everything from charging your electric car in the garage and receiving notifications when prices on a certain product at Home Depot change, all with the power of your voice. The two technologies together make a smart home far more convenient, which is partly what the technology should be all about.