How to Automate Using Stringify and Nest Cam or DropCam

Stringify and Nest CamWhat’s Stringify?  Well I’m sure you have heard of IFTTT.  The two services are similar in that they provide a link between services and hardware.  Stringify calls these links flows.  A flow allows the creation of reactions when an event occurs.  A Nest Cam provides little integration out of the box, especially with things that aren’t made by Nest.  Stringify and Nest Cam working together will overcome this restriction.

After using Stringify and IFTTT, I found them to be useful services.  IFTTT has a lot more points of automation because there are more companies that support their product.  However, I found Stringify and Nest Cam to be more reliable.  Stringify is a little more complex to use however, you can do a lot more integration with this service.

So what kind of events can you automate using Stringify and Nest Cam or DropCam?  Almost anything based around a motion or sound event.  When your Nest Cam or DropCam detects motion or sound, you can then send alerts, turn on a light, sound an alarm.  You get the idea.

To start using Stringify and Nest Cam together, you need to create an account which entails providing your email address and name.  You then authorize Stringify for access to your Nest account.  Everything mentioned in this article is applicable to Nest Cam as well as DropCam.  It’s the same interface.

So let’s look at how to create a very basic flow.  The flow will notify via your phone whenever a motion or sound event is detected by your Nest Cam.  The resulting flow is what is shown in the photo that accompanies this article.

Click on “Flows” from the main menu then click on Create at the upper right hand corner.  This takes you to the flow creation display.  Name your flow by tapping at the top of the screen.

Next click the plus sign at the bottom of the screen.  This takes you to a display of the “Things” that Stringify has access to.  You will see all cameras that are attached to your Nest account.  You will also see actions such as Notifications, email, buttons, date and time as well as location.

Since this article is all about Stringify and Nest Cam, let’s start by tapping on one of the cameras attached to your Nest account.  While you are here, also tap on a “Thing” you want to occur when your camera detects motion or sound.  For illustrative purposes, select “Notifications”.  Now tap the “Add” button at the top right of the display.

This takes you back to the flow creation screen.  The “Things” that were selected are found at the bottom of the screen.  Drag the camera up to an empty circle, click the little gear next to it and select either motion or sound.  Click save.  Now move the notification “Thing” to a circle that’s adjacent to the camera thing that you just configured. Enter the message text you want to receive and click done then save.

The last thing that needs to be done is to drag that notification thing on top of the camera thing.  Now they are linked.  Click Enable Flow.  That’s it.

We created a very basic flow, but you can get much more complex.  One of my favorite things to automate is turning on lights when motion is detected during a certain time span.  Stringify supports several lighting automation systems such as Insteon, Hue and LIFX.  Linking Stringify and Nest Cam with one of the lighting automation systems will allow you to turn the lights on and off whenever motion is detected.

Each of the lighting automation systems mentioned require use of a hub and compatible light bulbs or switched.  For example, the Philips Hue LED Starter Kit with 2 Bulbs & Hue Bridge provides provides everything needed to setup lighting automation.  After hooking this up, use Stringify and Nest to to turn the lights on when the camera detects motion.

As of the date of this article, Stringify has an iOS app.  An Android app is in the works.  There is no web app.  Hopefully these other platforms will come into play soon because Stringify is a great service.