Internet of Things (IoT) products have revolutionized the way humans interact with their environment, from smart cities taking action against poor air quality by adjusting stop lights and getting cars moving, to residential smart homes automating just about any connected device or appliance in its reach. Consumers around the world aren’t just integrating smart lighting and thermostat systems, but fully connected hub systems that manage irrigation, security, and energy consumption for the smart home. These devices programmatically execute tasks in response to event triggers, with some of the most common triggers utilizing 3rd party contextual data, such as current and forecast weather, yielding efficiencies throughout the smart home.
As smart home equipment and techniques are still a relatively new phenomenon in the consumer tech landscape, the question is how to maximize their value to owners and stakeholders in an increasingly interconnected personal data environment. Integrating contextual third-party data sources offers users the ability to fuel their home automation practices with custom IFTTT or Native integrations. Both solutions have their own unique set of pros and cons.
Not everyone is comfortable setting “if this, then that” (IFTTT) triggers within smart home hubs and other Wi-Fi-connected systems; asking a varying demographic of end-users to fiddle with technical tasks in order to gain full-feature access of their product can be risky. However, with IFTTT, you enable technical users to build their own integrations. Often times, community-built integrations allow product owners to rely on their apps’ users to dictate not only the type of new integrations they want, but to take on a fair amount of the development as well – think of it like market research by crowdsourcing. As long as your user base is somewhat technically proficient, you can lean on them to shape your product development roadmap, as their demands will help create the type of third-party integrations that show up in a smart home’s ecosystem.
Given the price tag and Premium subscription costs for smart home hubs and services, some consumers expect a simple and seamless setup with the autonomy for tech savvy users to deep dive into custom integrations.
From native to external 3rd party data implementations, demand for dynamic weather trigger support within smart home automation is evident, as weather is commonly found in the top 3 integrated features. To satisfy this demand and increase adoption rates, many companies have stepped up to the plate, adding native weather functionality to smart home event triggers. For example, Rachio, a current subscriber of AerisWeather, produces Smart WiFi Sprinkler Controllers and Wireless Flow Meters that connect to a home’s router and a paired mobile application.
Their IoT products leverage the watering intelligence of Rachio’s expert data scientists along with AerisWeather’s current and forecast weather data to proactively generate, skip, and update watering schedules. The homeowners’ sprinkler virtually references a network of weather stations, but for those technically advanced clients as well as those that live in unique microclimates, AerisWeather and Rachio also support the integration of Personal Weather Stations (PWS). This addition allows the PWS owner to not only leverage the station within the Rachio irrigation platform for more accurate watering schedules, but to power a number of other weather-enabled gear throughout their home.
AerisWeather offers additional value by tracking real-time weather data points across a high-resolution network to provide the most complete picture of high-impact weather phenomena like severe weather events (tornadoes, tropical storms, floods) allowing other AerisWeather subscribers, like Vivint SmartHome, to easily build another layer of safety alerts into their connected homes.
Users can plug the AerisWeather API into their own custom application(s) via IFTTT, open source code, and toolkits or fuel native tasks, alerts, content displays, and more. These various connectivity options promote a one-stop-shop for simple and intuitive weather integrations, providing ease of setup while encouraging the full spectrum of users to evangelize your smart product(s).