The BMW Labs portal, due to go online on 19 January 2016, will give customers the chance to test in advance new services still under development and therefore play an active role in helping to shape the future of BMW ConnectedDrive services.
The first ConnectedDrive option to be made available via BMW Labs is the integration of the IFTTT service into BMW vehicles. IFTTT is a free-of-charge service which allows hundreds of web applications and intelligent devices on the Internet of Things to be linked together.
Users can create statements known as “Recipes”, which allow them free rein to combine “Triggers” with associated “Actions”. They can select from over 260 different services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Drive, e-mail and SMS, and also connect with intelligent smart-home devices from the likes of Hue, Nest and Netatmo. IFTTT Recipes allow users to link up their car with these services as they wish.
For example, the outside lighting of their home can be switched on automatically when their BMW approaches it. It also allows the garage door to be opened and the house’s heating or air conditioning to be activated. The user’s family can be informed when the car is close to a certain location, to let them know when one of the children is being picked up from school, for example. And if the car is parked, its location can be stored as a Google Maps link to remind the owner where it is.
The BMW Labs Channel is now available on the IFTTT website and can be activated at www.ifttt.com/bmwlabs. Customers can create their own portfolio of Recipes on the site or IFTTT’s mobile applications.
The BMW Labs widget which links to the service can be selected in the split-screen menu of the BMW Control Display. To use the widget, the car has to be specified with the Navigation system Professional and ConnectedDrive Services with BMW Online, and the user needs to have an account with IFTTT. Initial testing of BMW Labs and IFTTT has been carried out in the USA, England, France, Spain, Germany and Australia using an English beta version.