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Starting from scratch and describing the basics, what on earth is IFTTT?
If This Then That, also known as IFTTT or (/ɪft/), is a way of creating chains of simple conditional statements that define a scenario in which an action needs to be taken automatically. A predefined action happens automatically when it is triggered by changes that occur within an environment.

So, a somewhat naughty example of this from everyday life, could be the child who is monitoring their dad while they are up to mischief. “If my dad is nearing home then send me an alert (so I can tidy up)”.

If we break this down into what that means on Pylife


THIS: my dad is within this area (inside the circle I have drawn, meaning he’s nearing home after taking my dog  out for a walk)


THAT: send me an alert (so I can quickly hide what I’m doing)

This principle, whether we call it IFTTT or something else, underpins most of the automatic activities surrounding connected products and most of why the Internet of Things exists: Automation whereby we predefine a scenario around IF THIS THEN THAT makes something else happen. It is used over and over again.

At Pycom we talk about the 4 types of activity categories that cover the vast majority of all IoT applications: Monitoring, Tracking, Managing and Controlling. Sometimes these activities are combined to create a richer and more value-adding environment.

It’s easy to see how each of these areas are using the IFTTT principles:

Monitoring examples with alerting:

  • If the temperature of my heating system is above 25 degrees, then send me an alert
  • If the blood pressure of this patient goes up above 140/100 then send an alert to medical staff

Tracking examples with alerting and mapping:

  • If my dog that I am tracking moves further than 250 meters away from me, send me an alert and pull up my map
  • If my wife’s identified in a geolocation I have preset, then send me an alert with her shown on a map

Managing examples where the system automatically manages itself

  • If there’s a light sensor on my home hub measures less than 300 lumens of daylight, then turn the hall lights ‘on’.
  • If my dog has run away and is lost, make the following message appear on the OLED screen on the PyGo “Press to find my owner”

Controlling a process examples

  • Counting use cycles: If the office coffee machine has run more than 50 cycles, then run a clean cycle…this is actually a really bad example because it requires a human intervention but you get the drift. If the human was a robot it would be very nearly automated 🙂

So, you may be thinking, this looks complicated and how is it relevant to the Pylife and PyGo solution. The Pylife app does come with predefined applets that means you don’t have to use the IFTTT. You can use the solution out of the box, but in actual fact, IFTTT is not very complicated at all. It’s super logical.

In the Pylife App we have set up some predefined Senses, Conditions and Variables you can chose from. It’s a click and drag type of set up where you follow a very easy process:


  1. What you are sensing (location)
  2. What the conditions are (inside)
  3. What you want the variables to be (this area in the circle I have drawn)
  4. Which PyGo (node) you are using
  5. Who the ‘Receivers’ or recipients are for the alerting
  6. What the Alert should be in the even the scenario is triggered

It’s super simple and gives you tons of possibilities to unleash the full flexibility that is on offer with the Pylife App and the PyGo devices. Make it your own with the IFTTT builder. And don’t worry, you won’t break it using IFTTT.

Check out how it all hangs together on the Pylife and PyGo Kickstarter Campaign here: