Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      IFTTT - IF This Then That

      There has been a lot of buzz recently about the Internet of Things (IoT) and If This Then That (IFTTT) technology but what does it all mean and can it help people with hearing loss? Kevin Taylor our Product Technologist tells us more.

      By: Heloise Heau | 10 July 2017

      An exciting part of my job as product technologist is to explore and try out new technologies and products that may be of benefit for people with hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus. One area we’re looking at is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how unrelated smart devices can talk and interact with each other. IFTTT offers a way to do this.

      What is IoT and IFTTT?


      IoT is a term used to refer to a network of devices that communicate with each other using the internet. IFTTT is an app which uses applets (small applications which only carry out one specific task) to allow devices to communicate with each other using the rule: “If This” device is used, “Then That” device will do something. So for example, if your IFTTT alarm goes off, then your IFTTT watch will vibrate to alert you.

      An App full of Applets


      The IFTTT app has numerous ‘applets’ that automate repetitive tasks on social media, other web tools and, increasingly, internet-connected devices. These applets are organised into categories on an online store within the app, which is similar to the iTunes or Google Play stores that you access on your smartphone, tablet or PC. Categories include calendar and other scheduling applets, clocks, displays (such as having the day’s weather forecast appear on your phone first thing each morning), communications and appliances (one example would be that if you have a smart fridge and the door gets left open, then it will send you a text message).

      The app has a useful search box to help you find that perfect applet to make your digital life easier. Enter a popular brand name like YouTube and you’ll get a list of applets that streamline tasks related to YouTube. For example, there’s an applet that sends you a weekly email listing new videos from your favourite YouTube channel (the applet links your email and YouTube accounts and IFTTT will need access to both accounts).

      Join the Dots


      Smart devices don’t have to work in isolation – they can be made to work with other devices (from a totally different brand) – this is gaining momentum as more and more manufacturers are making their smart devices work with IFTTT.

      RING Talks to HUE


      To test this out, we looked at how a RING Wi-Fi Doorbell could flash Philips HUE smart lighting using IFTTT. The IFTTT app has applets for both devices and one of them works like this: If a caller presses the RING Doorbell (If This) – then flash the Philips HUE lightbulbs (Then That). During testing, I pressed the button on the doorbell but there was no flashing light straight away. Still waiting one minute later – eureka! It works, but the time delay is a snag. We found the time delay varied each time from about 30 seconds to as much as 1 minute 30 seconds - a caller at the door may well have gone away by the time the lights flash.

      This seems to be a common problem. Nevertheless, big names are nailing IFTTT to their brand, including Oticon Opn hearing aids. There’s an applet that will play a spoken notification in an Oticon Opn hearing aid when a caller presses the RING Wi-Fi doorbell. We have yet to try this out, but there’s a chance it could have the same delay issues. Even so, there are plenty of other applets for Oticon Opn hearing aids that are not so time critical, such as battery status notifications.

      IFTTT works well and is a useful tool to streamline repetitive tasks, but (for now at least) it’s not so good for tasks where an immediate notification is needed.

      IFTTT is free to use and works with both Android and iOS. To try it out, download the IFTTT app from app stores or visit the IFTTT website.

      Finally life is still smart without IFTTT


      Internet connected devices still do a lot of smart things without IFTTT. The RING doorbell can provide a notification on your phone or tablet when there’s someone at the door (using the RING app). And you can switch the HUE lightbulbs on or off, dim them and even change their colour remotely from the HUE app on your phone (your phone will need internet access, either via Wi-Fi or mobile networks). I had great fun switching on the hall light in my south London home from 50 miles away in Brighton (it’s the simple pleasures in life!).

      Find out more

      If you’re interested in finding out more about the technology work that we do, and the latest news from the hearing technology field, sign up to receive our Soundbite e-newsletter. It’s a monthly email, filled with the latest news about hearing and tinnitus research.

      Recent Posts

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Children (aged 7-12 years) invited to take part in a new research study

      Researchers at University College London (UCL) are investigating the effect of noisy listening environments on children’s ability to understand speech and would like to invite your child to take part.

      By: Katharina Zenke and Shiran Koifman
      16 September 2019

      A new drug to protect hearing?

      Certain medicines can harm hearing as a side-effect. We funded research to understand how a new drug might protect hearing when someone has to take one of these medicines. Tracey, from our Research team, explains in her blog post.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      16 September 2019

      Protecting hearing from ear-toxic medicines

      With the help of our funding, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute have shown that structures called stress granules, which form when a cell is damaged or otherwise stressed, can protect hair cells from the damage caused by ototoxic (ear-toxic) medicines, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Dr Ralph Holme, from our Research team, tells us more.

      By: Dr Ralph Holme
      16 September 2019

      Recent Posts

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Children (aged 7-12 years) invited to take part in a new research study

      Researchers at University College London (UCL) are investigating the effect of noisy listening environments on children’s ability to understand speech and would like to invite your child to take part.

      By: Katharina Zenke and Shiran Koifman
      16 September 2019

      A new drug to protect hearing?

      Certain medicines can harm hearing as a side-effect. We funded research to understand how a new drug might protect hearing when someone has to take one of these medicines. Tracey, from our Research team, explains in her blog post.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      16 September 2019

      Protecting hearing from ear-toxic medicines

      With the help of our funding, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute have shown that structures called stress granules, which form when a cell is damaged or otherwise stressed, can protect hair cells from the damage caused by ototoxic (ear-toxic) medicines, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Dr Ralph Holme, from our Research team, tells us more.

      By: Dr Ralph Holme
      16 September 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.