How to blink your lights when someone's at your front door

More and more gadgets are becoming one with the all-things-in-the-universe-connected trend. You can discuss the pitfalls and privacy issue that come with the territory but there are some nice benefits to the interconnectivity of the internet-of-things.

I've recently moved into a new house and I've found that I have some doorbell "dead spots" where I cannot hear the doorbell chime in certain areas. Luckily, I've been slowly upgrading and installing HomeKit and IFTTT enabled devices that have helped me know when someone is ringing the doorbell by having those devices working together when activated. Here's how you can have your Skybell doorbell connect to your Nanoleaf light panels to visibly notify you when someone rings the doorbell!

What you need to get started

Of course before you start, you'll need devices that support IFTTT (an acronym for logic recipes meaning If This Then That). IFTTT is free and is a web facing service that allows for logical statements to be run in association with a great many internet connected devices. Need to be able to open the garage door when your location is at a certain distance from your home? No problem. Install the recipe from the IFTTT app freely available in the App Store or optionally create your own recipes like what we will show you how to do below.

For our doorbell, we chose the Skybell Trim Plus for $200 USD. We needed a slim profile doorbell to fit on our door frame and it also supports HomeKit. A competitive replacement is the Ring doorbell.

For our lights we chose the the Nanoleaf Rhythm Smarter Kit for $230 USD. These panels are highly customizable and you can make your own panel design. You can also add to your current panel if you ever feel like you need more lighting or a more intricate design. A competitive replacement are the Philips Hue smart lights.

Using IFTTT and setup

Once you have your devices installed and set up we can now introduce the devices to the IFTTT application. We will create a new recipe to have our doorbell make our lights blink a certain color when someone depresses the button. You can also have it do the same when the motion sensor is activated.

  1. Download the IFTTT App. You can optionally just use the IFTTT website.
  2. Sign in or Sign up for a new free account.
  3. Tap on My Applets.
  4. Tap the "+".
  5. Tap + this.

  1. Search for your doorbell manufacturer. In our case Skybell.
  2. Select Your Skybell HD's button was pressed.
  3. Select the name of your doorbell.
  4. Tap Next.

  1. Tap + that.
  2. Search for your light manufacturer. Here we type Nanoleaf.
  3. Select Notify you using your Nanoleaf Aurora.
  4. Choose Which Aurora you want to be used.
  5. Decide if you want a Blinking or solid color.
  6. Type in the color you want the lights to use when being notified.
  7. Choose how many seconds the lights will notify you for.

  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap Finish.


Final comments

There are so many ways that you can use IFTTT to make recipes and have things start or stop by just being in a geographic location or when something is triggered. I have a lot fun creating and testing the functionality of my devices beyond what their intended uses are for. I'm a big proponent on added value and device support for IFTTT really gives you more bang for your buck. So what about you? How do you get more out of your internet-of-things devices? Let us know in the comments!

Anthony Casella