Posted by Weatherflow ● October, 2021
Tempest News | October 2021
THE PRICE OF COASTAL LIVING IS ABOUT TO SKYROCKET
Around 8 million Americans moved to the coastal U.S. between 2000 and 2017, soaking up the sun and seaside lifestyle as well as the benefits of a largely subsidized flood insurance payment. But now, all of that is about to change as FEMA prepares to roll out Risk Rating 2.0: a new risk assessment method that considers the threat of flooding as our climate changes.
EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS USUALLY DON'T MOTIVATE AMERICANS TO RELOCATE
Severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and wildfires can wipe out homes and businesses, and weaken social and economic stability. But a recent poll showed that many Americans would rather rebuild than relocate.
KIDS BORN IN 2020 WILL EXPERIENCE UP TO 7x MORE CLIMATE DISASTERS
According to a new study in the journal Science, children born in 2020 are expected to experience extreme climate events at a rate of two to seven times higher than people born in 1960. The study looked at events like droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, and tropical storms using data from a 2021 climate change report.
Tempest Innovator OF THE MONTH
Tony Rice is the Rowing Science Lead for Rowing Australia. He helped design and deploy a Regatta Weather System using the Tempest. This was used for both training and racing in Australia and in Tokyo for the Olympic Games. "We wanted an on-water system that was semi-permanent (could be deployed for weeks without the need for maintenance) and provided real-time readings at water level to determine the exact conditions that were being experienced by the rowers," Tony explained. "We designed a system that would enable a Tempest device to float on water with all infrastructure (network hub, internet connection, etc) self-contained in a single waterproof unit."
...with Peter Curley, VP of Marketing at IFTTT (If This Then That) who explains how the service can create interconnected relationships and scenarios to make your life easier.
In a world of home appliances, weather stations, security systems, and televisions that are now wirelessly connected to the internet, enabling those devices to communicate with one another is more important than ever. IFTTT is a software platform that makes this possible.
Q: Hi Peter! Tell me a little about IFTTT first and how it got started.
A: IFTTT was founded 11 years ago by our CEO Linden Tibbets. We have 30 employees and 24 million users, so we are a small company but we really love what we do.
The original idea behind IFTTT is simple. Take a service in your life - whether that be email, calendar, maybe it’s a smart bulb - and connect that to another service. Basically, IFTTT is a way to integrate a bunch of disparate devices, services, or apps.
Q: How does it work?
A: Right now, we have 700 different services on our platform. In the early days on the internet, you had Twitter and Gmail, but they couldn't “talk” to each other. Now, with IFTTT you can email yourself from Twitter.
Another popular example - say something happens with the weather, and you want to use that weather event as a trigger to connect to another device and service. So if you know it’s freezing, and have a summer house, and are concerned when it freezes. You could use your personalized weather station to send yourself a notification that it is freezing and then could turn on the heat remotely.
Q: Who thought of this? And what is the technology needed to do this?
A: The concept is easy. IFTTT's founder and CEO, Lindon Tibbets, compares it to the physical world - like every time I put on my Nike shoes with Levi jeans. What IFTTT is doing is similar to putting different products in the physical world together, but in the digital world. In digital, it’s more difficult to connect these services, but our goal is to make it easy.
Think about the Tempest. You built this device, which is standalone - it gives you personalized weather. If I have my own personalized weather station, I would want to integrate that into the rest of my life. So when Tempest connects to IFTTT, users can integrate their weather data with 700 other services. That one IFTTT connection allows us to integrate into many other parts of customer lives.
Q: What are some ways users are connecting their weather to their homes?
A: Here are some examples of how it’s being used right now on IFTTT:
- "Blink my Hue lights when the first raindrops start falling."
- "Alert me to freezing temperatures by text."
- "Delay my Racchio sprinkler cycle when it rains."
- "Fire warning: text me when the humidity drops."
- "Park my Husqvarna auto-mower during frost."
- "Do not water my yard if Tempest detects strong wind."
- "Turn my Philips Hue light blue when it’s freezing."
Q: Those are some fun examples. Can you give me another example of what connects to what and why?
A: Generally you’d connect to some type of notification, like “text me when there is lightning in my area,” or “notify me when there are high winds,” for example. We then have an integration with Google where you can log certain temperatures or windspeeds into a Google spreadsheet and keep an archive of different weather over time.
Q: Couldn’t Tempest build these integrations themselves?
A: Tempest could build all these integrations themselves, but would spend two lifetimes doing so and maintaining all the integrations. That’s not their job. They want to do their job well and we want to make people's lives easier.
Q: How do you find IFTTT being used to address climate change?
A: We have lots of different weather services on our platform. One I like is “if the air quality is bad, then turn my lights red in the morning before I go out so I know if the air quality is poor.” If you have a smart bulb (LIFX or Hue), you can change the color of the lights automatically through the app.
Q: How does IFTTT connect to devices other than thru SMS messages?
A: There are several different applications. For example, if I turn my thermostat too high and I feel bad for the planet, I can set it to automatically plant trees on my behalf or offset carbon after a certain threshold. All the services have to be on IFTTT, but once they are, you can do all sorts of interesting things.
Q: So it actually can monitor your electricity and Take action based on the usage?
A: Yes. In California, where I live, electricity is cheaper after 9 pm. So I can control all my devices to make sure they only run after 9 pm. I buy a smart plug and don’t start anything - the dishwasher, the washing machine, the Roomba vacuum, until after 9 pm.
Q: How do you get people to understand how simple and easy and useful IFTTT is?
A: Well, 24 million do understand that! But there is a techy quality to it. We’re getting close to being mainstream, but we are not there yet. The UI is very simple and it’s easy to create new applets. Over time, this will become more mainstream as everything becomes a service.
Q: What are some of the craziest connections you’ve seen?
A: There is an industrial Swedish brand, Husqvarna, and they use it to check the weather to determine if their automatic lawnmowers should run or not depending on if it is raining or there is frost. It’s so easy because Husqvarna has its own app, which we are integrated directly into.
Like Husqvarna, iRobot integrates with IFTTT directly within their app too. It’s much easier for the user because it provides them with a direct connection.
Another interesting one is a fintech company that connects with a fitness app called Strava. Every time I go for a run, it will tell my bank account to save $10, which motivates me to run and exercise more. Fitbit is another one - if I walk so many steps, you can do the same kind of thing. It rewards behavior.
Q: The human behavior angle is an interesting one!
A: Yes, you can see how you can use incentives and behavioral motivation to quit smoking, exercise more, etc. There are a lot of apps that do this standalone but when you integrate the other services in your life - like your bank or your carbon footprint, that’s when it becomes interesting. And that’s the real genius of IFTTT, it allows you to integrate beyond your normal apps and kind of makes them IRL (in real life). That’s the way services are going. The physical world is just not there yet.
Q: Finally, can you walk me through the steps to sign up?
A: Go to our website. You can sign up for a free account or download the app, which is available for IOS or Android. A free account allows you to create integrations yourself.
For example, if you wanted to connect your Twitter account to a light bulb, first you would go to Twitter on IFTTT, authenticate and sign in to your account. Then, do the same to your lightbulb and we handle the rest! Now, every time your name is mentioned in a tweet, all the lights in the house flash.
One other thing I want to mention. Think about the name - If This, Then That. If something happens, then you do something else. That is the core of what we are — putting services together, then something happens and action is created—that is the elemental idea. It’s so simple and especially now that more and more companies are offering APIs for their services, so many more things are connected now. The API gives you that standardized integration protocol we use to mesh everything together. We’re just the glue to connect people with so many options.
Learn more about IFTTT and check out the applets made for Tempest at https://ifttt.com/weatherflow.
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