Scout’s DIY Home Alarm Gets So, So Much Smarter With An IFTTT Channel


I’m really digging Scout‘s install-it-yourself modular home alarm.

It has its quirks, but it’s a massive step toward everything I want in a security system. I can add new components easily, I can control everything from my phone, there’s no ridiculous contracts or hidden fees, and it’s all wireless.

Today, Scout gets even better — and so, so much smarter. Thanks to a brand new IFTTT channel, it can now interact with everything from your phone to your Jawbone Up, and from Google Docs to Facebook.

In case you’re unfamiliar: IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That”, and it acts as a super-simplified middle man for making Internet-connected services and things work together. It takes input from one service, and produces an action somewhere else.

Want Dropbox to automatically download every Facebook photo you’re tagged in? Want an alert on your phone if it’s going to rain tomorrow? Want your crazy smart lightbulb to flash every time someone tweets at you? IFTTT can do all of it, and makes it insanely simple.

I’ve been using the Scout Alarm IFTTT channel for the last 24 hours in a private beta, and I already feel like the system has instantly become vastly more powerful… and I’m just tapping the surface of what it can do.

Here’s some of what I’ve done, none of which would have been possible without today’s integration:

  • When someone opens any of the doors to my house, it now sends a notification (via Pushbullet) to my monitor. This lets me work with headphones blaring and still know as soon as my fiancée gets home from work (or if someone comes in to stab me or something).
  • When I put my Jawbone Up into “Sleep” mode, my home alarm automatically arms itself.
  • A few weeks back on the TC Gadgets Podcast, I let loose the most entitled whine the world had ever heard: my robots didn’t like each other. My robot vacuum cleaner was setting off my robot security system’s motion sensors when I wasn’t home. So the Scout guys came up with an IFTTT recipe that disables my motion sensors (leaving all other sensors on) whenever my Roomba is rollin’ around.
  • Every time someone opens my front door, the timestamp is automatically logged to a private Google Doc. Why? Because data is fun.
  • I built a panic button using IFTTT’s new “Do” app, which gives you three clickable buttons that can be tied to pretty much any IFTTT trigger. If I hear someone rustling around downstairs, I can open the app and fire off the siren within about a second.

Each of these things took all of a minute each to implement, because that’s just how IFTTT works.

Another idea I just came up with while writing this, but haven’t tested yet: my neighborhood has a Facebook Group. IFTTT has a Facebook Group channel. With a few clicks, my security alarm could automatically post to the neighborhood Facebook Group when it’s triggered. “Hey guys — my alarm seems to be going off. Please look out your window and see if you spot anyone running from my house with a TV under their arm. Thanks!”

You can find Scout’s new IFTTT channel over here.

scout alarm channel