BMW Labs portal goes live to connect drivers to the Internet of Things
On January 19, BMW Labs opened its public portal allowing ConnectedDrive services to connect IFTTT (IF This Then That) to BMW drivers and their smartphones. The service both adds functionality and allows BMW Labs to advance new services still being developed, connecting apps together while on the go.
IFTTT (or "ift") is a connected portal that lets users set up "recipes" to trigger actions and reactions when certain things are done. Users can, for example, take a photo and save it to their phone, then have IFTTT automatically upload it to certain services or post it on social media or both. In the car, it could connect apps on a smartphone to apps in the car. Driver preferences may also be linked.
Currently, the ConnectedDrive in some BMW vehicles has more than 260 different services that can be integrated. These include social media like Facebook and Twitter as well as most popular email apps, cell phone SMS, and smart-home devices like Hue, Nest and Netatmo. All of these services can be linked to the ConnectedDrive as of today. This allows for a number of scenarios.
This could include examples such as home-link systems being informed of the car's approach, which could trigger outside lighting, open the garage door, activate the house's climate systems, turn on certain lighting inside the house, and more. Smartphones that may or may not be connected to the system could be sent an SMS message when the car nears, letting children know parents are there to pick them up or letting those using valet services know if their car is being driven out of turn. Parked cars can automatically register their location with Google Maps, so that users can quickly find it when they return. Even things like status updates or location pings can be automated with Twitter or Facebook.
The BMW Labs Channel on IFTTT shows several of the options that are available with some pre-formed Recipes ready for use. The smartphone widget can be installed and the user's BMW car registered with ConnectedDrive Services and IFTTT.