Logging Home Data With IFTTT, Part 2

Earlier this week, we looked at using IFTTT to keep a record of what’s happening in your home using its integration with Google Sheets. This logging is supported by many home automation accessories, but of course, Google Sheets isn’t the only game in town when it comes to ways in which you can record data.

As a spreadsheet, Google Sheets is a great way to log data in a way that can be easily visualized, but if you’re using a different spreadsheet application, or if you want to analyze your data in different ways, you may find it easier just to dump it into a flat text file that can be imported elsewhere. You might also want to view the data in a calendar or journal. This is where other IFTTT services come in.

Dropbox: Keep A Log Of Your WeMo Switch Activity

The Dropbox IFTTT service works in a similar manner to Google Sheets, requiring you to specify a file name and folder path, either of which can use IFTTT ingredients as components. Instead of providing a formatted row, however, the Dropbox service simply lets you put in a block of content in any format you like, and you can even create multiline blocks by using HTML line-break tags. Of course, you can easily create a CSV file suitable for importing into another spreadsheet or database app simply by supplying your own commas between each of the ingredient fields.

As we mentioned last week, there sadly aren’t a lot of lighting-based accessories that can be used as IFTTT triggers, so this means that doing things like keeping a log of when your lights are turned on and off will be somewhat difficult. However, Belkin’s WeMo devices offer a ray of hope by providing on and off triggers to IFTTT so that you can initiate other actions, such as logging this information to a file in Dropbox. This allows you to easily keep a log of every time your WeMo Light Switch is turned on.

This can also be useful if you’re using a home automation platform such as Apple’s HomeKit that will let you link devices through automation rules; in this case you could include a device like a WeMo Smart Plug in a HomeKit scene, or even set it alongside another device like a Hue light, in order to log data from lighting accessories that don’t otherwise have their own IFTTT triggers.

DayOne: Keep A Journal Of Your Home Coffee Consumption

In addition to more pedestrian logging services like Google Sheets and Dropbox, IFTTT can tie into popular journalling and note-taking platforms like Day One and Evernote, so you can, for instance, create a journal entry every time your coffee machine is turned on.

This can be a standalone journal entry just to record your coffee-drinking habits, or it can be a way of prompting you to sit down and write your morning journal while you’re brewing or drinking your morning coffee.

Google Calendar: Keep A Record Of When Your Kids Come Home

We’ve already looked at keeping a log in Google Sheets of who unlocks your door and when via an August Smart Lock, but IFTTT can also log this information to a Google Calendar. And thanks to August’s person-specific triggers, you can create calendar events only when specific people unlock the door.

It’s the same data that would get logged to a Google Sheet or Dropbox file, of course, but Google Calendar is often a nicer way to visualize information such as this.

iOS Reminders: Create A Reminder When It’s Time To Replace Your Air Filter

If you’re an iPhone user, IFTTT’s mobile app for iOS can be used to tie into your built-in Reminders app, allowing you to automatically have reminders added for any number of home appliance maintenance tasks that can be reported by your devices. For example, you can create a reminder to buy a new air filter when your WeMo Air Purifier filter drops below a certain threshold.

There are actually quite a few different home appliances ranging from coffee makers to humidifiers that can report things like filter life and supply levels as IFTTT triggers, so this can be a great way to ensure that you get reminded to buy more. Unfortunately, the ability to create tasks is mostly limited to iOS devices, as Google hasn’t opened up any APIs for Calendar/Keep/Inbox reminders that IFTTT can tie into (although you could still simply send yourself an e-mail or create a Google Calendar event in this case).

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington is based in Toronto, Canada, where he lives with his daughter, Victoria. He is the author of iPod & iTunes Portable Genius, and works as a senior editor for iLounge.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse ran his own information technology consulting practice and served as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve.

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