If you want something done fast, let the internet do it for you
Everybody’s talking about automation, AI and the IoT, but is there a way to actually take advantage of these things for work optimization, and not only to check if you’re missing milk in your fridge while at work?
Let’s talk about automation
Automation means taking a programmatic approach to a normally mundane task. Creating a action and reaction scenario that will basically wait for the happening of an event and then taking action according to that event.
For example, if you receive an email from your supplier, which has an important pricing table update on it, you could create a rule in your email software which would automatically move all messages like this into a specific folder. That way you will not lose track of important pricing updates from your suppliers.
Or perhaps you’re using a social media post scheduler, like buffer, you are practically using a certain date and time as an event, and posting some text, a link or an image on a social media platform as a reaction.
All this is good and well, but let’s go to the heavy weights
As mentioned above, many programs or applications already have a built-in rule creator, a macro writer or are just programmable. But not all are, and not all apps have a way to automate their usage.
A splendid web app called IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, will not only automate actions for you, but it will do that across platforms as well!
Let’s take the most famous applet (that’s what they call the automation strings, although I personally prefer the older name “recipes”) creating a Twitter image tweet from an Instagram post. Normally, when you post a new Instagram photo and tell Instagram to also share it on Twitter, it will only share a link to the Instagram post. What IFTTT will do, is take the info from the new Instagram post and create a brand new Tweet from it, using the photo.
This is just a quick example of what many people use it for. More serious tasks could include adding a user’s data into a spreadsheet every time they mention a certain keyword important to your business, thus creating a lead list.
What about IoT?
Since IFTTT is always expanding, it now also has access to quite a list of IoT products:
So this way, for example, you could flash all your lights red in your house, when the washer has finished its cycle, so if you’re hearing impaired, you have no trouble knowing about it.
If you prefer you house wouldn’t turn into the USS Enterprise for a second, you could just have IFTTT to send you a push notification using PushBullet instead.
How does IFTTT work?
The amazing part is that it’s really super easy to create a new applet! Just choose the service you’re interested in, choose the action, or reaction, of the certain service, and make small modifications if needed.