Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, just gained the ability to execute IFTTT recipes with custom phrases. For those not familiar with IFTTT, it’s a powerful web service that allows users to connect various devices and services together. The new IFTTT ability just added to Alexa allows you to execute any number of actions by saying “Alexa, trigger …” followed by any phrase you want. This new functionality works on the Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices running Fire OS 5, which are currently the 2nd-gen Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote. The ability will also work on the 1st-gen Fire TV and older Fire TV Sticks once those devices receive the Fire OS 5 update in the near future.
Since IFTTT connects with many services, this new custom phrase ability greatly expands Alexa’s capabilities. You could, for example, ask Alexa on your Fire TV or Echo to call your phone, if you can’t find it, by saying “Alexa, trigger my phone” or something similar. IFTTT works with many smart home devices like Philips Hue lights and Nest thermostats, so you can now control those devices with the Fire TV, a feature previously limited to Alexa on the Amazon Echo.
One IFTTT recipe I immediately added with this new feature is the ability to remotely turn my phone’s bluetooth on. I often ask Alexa on my Echo to connect to my phone via bluetooth, only to discover that my phone’s bluetooth is off. Now I can say “Alexa, trigger bluetooth on” and, through the IFTTT Android app, Alexa can turn on my phones bluetooth remotely. Then I can just say “Alexa, connect to my phone” followed by “Alexa, play” to start playing the last thing my phone was playing. That’s just one tiny example of the things that can be done with this new Alexa feature.