Automation is no longer just for robots and integration is no longer just for developers. There are now several services which enable anyone (who can use a website) to implement their own information workflows. For example, a new contact is created in my accounting software when I create a contact in my project management software, or vice-versa. But there are many amazing uses beyond just that. As well as connecting websites, you can also connect from and to many other web accessible tools and devices that you use e.g. for productivity, accounting, time tracking and even the light bulbs and heating in your house! The time that 'everything is connected' is becoming more and more a reality.
The tools I am talking about are services such as IFTTT (If This Then That), Zapier (connects the apps you use) Workflow (automation app) and probably some others which I may not know yet (please let me know so that I can check them out too!). I absolutely love this concept of automation and integration and being able to link everything together, and am now constantly on the look out for more things which I can connect together.
This weeks' idea consists of how to implement a real light bulb moment; not only in the metaphorical sense, but also in a literal way!
So here is my plan...
We use Trello a lot here at ToucanStar. We use it for task assignment, scheduling and progress tracking but also for ideas which are placed in cards on the ideas board. I want to show everyone that someone has had a light bulb moment whenever a new card is placed on the new ideas list on the ideas board and to do this I want the light bulb in the office to flash a specific colour for a certain amount of time.
I am actually going to do this when we move house/office and I get to buy connected light bulbs. I am going to use IFTTT for this task as it has the integrations already connected that I need and also I haven't used it for much yet, so this is an awesome test.
In preparation I already created my IFTTT account, so I start with a new 'recipe' (as they call it), pick Trello from the THIS list and then follow the prompts to allow IFTTT to connect to Trello on my behalf. I select the right Trello board and list, created a MyHue account in preparation for the new light bulb arrival, but doh, I can't do anything else as I don't have my lights connected, so I'll have to wait to do that.
I had a quick browse around the other options for the action and I could alter the temperature of the heating, switch on the oven or change the wallpaper on my phone, but for now I am just going to set it to play a song on my Android phone. I do this within the 'THAT' selection screen and enter a song name which is already on my phone.. "Too Funky" by George Michael, now I add a new idea to the Trello list and within a minute the song starts playing on my phone, awesome!
It will be much better when I have my actual light bulbs so I'll do an update then...
So in summary, there is no reason for anyone not to connect anything any more, and if you are using a tool which refuses to be connectible to others then you should put pressure on them to allow integration or jump ship.
Some examples from IFTTT: