Using WebHooks Without Phone Data

Hey all,

So I have a series of sequences that are controlling my AC at home. Two of them are monitoring a geofence perimeter and whether I am connected to my home wifi. Because I micromanage my phone data and I usually have it off, IFTTT can't fire the webhook when I leave the network or area.

I was hoping that it would just queue the triggers and fire them whenever it had a connection, but it doesn't seem to work that way. Is there a way to use SMS to communicate with webhooks? Or any other alternatives?

As a last resort, I'm thinking of setting up something where my phone would turn data on when I am within 400 m of my apartment and am not connected to my wifi. This would give it enough range to trigger and communicate out and then shut off when I'm further out of range. Again, this is a last resort, and having my data on unnecessarily is not an ideal solution.

Any thoughts?

Asked by Chris on July 28, 2019, at 9:46am

Hi Chris, your idea about sending an SMS is a good one. Currently this isn't a feature on Sequematic but I have an idea on how to implement it. It would require you to send an SMS to an Australian phone number. Would that be an option for you?

If not, do you have a spare phone at home? You could have your regular device send a text to the other device. Then, that device could trigger an IFTTT applet which would call a webhook (over your home wifi).

Thanks for getting back to me, Derek. I would be ok with texting an Australian number. I am a bit concerned about adding an unknown phone number into the mix of controlling my home devices. Could you help me with some details on what we're setting up?

Hi Chris, I've given this some more thought and have another idea which might work.

What if you have an IFTTT applet which triggers a sequence (via webhook) when you leave the home area. Then that sequence would:

  1. Call a webhook to turn on mobile data
  2. Call a webhook to trigger IFTTT to turn off your AC
  3. Call another webhook to trigger IFTTT to turn off your mobile data

Would that work?

Seems like IFTTT doesn't actually allow mobile data access because of security issues? I found something recommending Tasker as an alternative, but it seems to be running into the same block.

I've been experimenting with Automate and Tasker this week and wonder if they might solve your problem.

You could set up a flow as follows:

  • When you leave home
  • Check / wait until the phone is on the internet (this could be when you turn on mobile data, or it next connects to wifi)
  • Then call the webhook to trigger the AC off

I believe they both have the ability to pause a flow until a certain condition is met (in this case your phone is on the internet).  If that works, then it would be the scenario you first described in your question, where you expected IFTTT to queue the request until it was online.

I use three tools simultaneously for optimal geofencing: (1) Tasker (2) SequeMatic (3) IFTTT

What I have set is the following:

  1. Geofencing with Tasker on my Android phone
    • Tasker has a "near WIFI" trigger, so you don't need to use GPS or don't even need to be WIFI connected. This way your battery will not drain....laugh
    •  "near WIFI" trigger can be used when near and not-near WIFI SID (so home and not home)
  2. Tasker triggers a SequeMatic sequence
    • arrive_home: 
    • or ..../leaving_home
  3. SequeMatic triggers IFTTT webhooks
  4. IFTTT controls my devices in my house (like heating)

Thanks! This looks super promising. Two follow-up questions:

  1. I'm not familiar with the syntax for sending triggers from Tasker to Sequematic. I'm assuming the "xxx/xxx" in the middle of the URL needs to be replaced with some relevant information - what is that?
  2. How does the "near WiFi" function behave when you're not using cellular data? If the task is triggered locally on the phone, can it be queued to communicate out to Sequematic the next time it has a connection?

Hi Chris,

  1. if you create new sequence and add IFTTT as trigger, than Sequematic automatically creates an URL like mentioned in my reply. With that URL you can trigger a sequence from any app (like Tasker) that supports webhooks
  2. yes, you can use "wait" or "wait until" commands in Tasker

I've got everything set up and they seem fire as expected. I'll trial it over the next few days. This was tied to my AC, so fortunately there's nothing on the line right now. It's 37°F in NYC at the moment.

Thanks, I think I've found a successful solution. It works like this in case anyone needs something similar (credit to Derek for help on identifying and guiding me through the right tools for the job):

  1. When I arrive home (i.e., connect to my home network) Tasker fires "arrive_home" which waits for a wifi connection and then updates my Sequematic "at_home" variable to 1. 

  2. When I leave home (i.e., disconnect from my home network, using invert of Wifi Connected) Tasker fires "depart_home" which waits for a wifi connection and then updates my Sequematic "at_home" variable to 0. 

This seems to be functioning as expected. I've verified it with some other tools that are keeping track of when I'm at home. I set up "arrive_home" with a 5 sec delay so that if I ever disconnect and reconnect to the home network, "depart_home" will be immediately replaced by "arrive_home". I know there's a solution to eliminate false firing, but I don't mind some redundant checks that everything is as it should be.

Looks good Chris. Glad you've found your way in Tasker. Works like a charm, doesn't it?

I've created another idea in Sequematic, that might be of interest:

Instead of counting the arrivals and leaves, I have created separate variables for everyone in my home. These can be TRUE or FALSE, depending if someone is at home or not.

Secondly; I've created a sequence that checks if someone is at home (so variable is TRUE for some person). This sequence changes the equivalent variable top TRUE or FALSE. With that I can trigger my home automation.

Third; on every house mates phone I've set Tasker to change the equivalent variable.

This works more accurate, because sometimes I noticed that the countdown doesn't work correctly, resulting in not firing my home automation.

Anyone aware of a IOS alternative to Tasker? I currently use Locative which relys on a geofence to trigger a webhook on leave/arrive.

Post a reply

The SEQUEmatic bot is still new and learning. If you don't get the answer you need, just ask to speak with Derek and your chat will be transferred.