In a previous post, we demonstrated how to set up an alert that would activate a pool light when Olympic superstar Michael Phelps sent us an email. In this post, we will find a way to be alerted when we receive an email from Mr. Phelps in a personal Gmail account. Not just any alert, though – we want all the lights in the house to turn on.
We thought it would be great to do this codeless and use Microsoft Flow and connect it to a Wink Hub at home. However, Flow does not currently offer a service to connect to Wink Hub; however, IFTTT does provide this service. However (again), IFTTT and Flow do not directly connect. Fortunately, they both play well with Google Sheets (Sheets). So, to address this challenge, Sheets will be the bridge between IFTTT and Flow. To achieve this, we will build an IFTTT Applet and a single Flow to both work with the same Google Sheet. One will listen for changes to the Sheet and the other will make the change to the Sheet.
To summarize the challenge:
- We need this connection: Flow àWink.
- Flow doesn't offer that service!
- IFFT does: IFTTT à Wink.
- So, we need this connection: Flow àIFTTT.
- Flow doesn't offer that service either!
- Sheets plays nice with both: Flow à Sheets and Sheets à IFTTT.
- So, what we really need is this connection: Flow à Sheets à IFTTT à Wink.
To make it happen, my prerequisites are as follows:
1. Gmail and Google Drive Accounts (free version)
2. Microsoft Flow Account (free version)
3. IFTTT Account (free version)
- Connect to Wink Hub
- Connected to Google Sheets
4. Dynamics 365 Sales (paid service)
5. Wink Hub (hardware investment)
- Connected to smart lights
To make it happen, my prework is as follows:
1. Create a Google Sheet to work with
2. Connect Google Sheets to Flow and IFTTT
3. Create a Wink Shortcut that turns on a group of lights
4. Connect Gmail to Flow
5. Connect Dynamics 365 Sales to Flow
IFTTT Service Steps: Creating the Listener for changes to the Sheet
1. Create "New Applet"
2. For "If," search for and select Google Sheets as Service
3. Choose "New row added to a sheet" as a Trigger
4. Enter the Folder and Filename of the Google Sheet
5. For "That" Search for and Choose "Wink" as Service
6. Select "Wink Shortcuts" as an Action
7. Select "Activate Shortcut"
8. Select your shortcut that turns on your lights
9. Click "Create Action"
10. Click "Finish"
Now that the above is in place, it's time to manually test adding a new row to our Google Sheet and watch all the lights in the house turn on. From there, we need to create our Flow to listen for a new Gmail Message and trigger a row insert into our Google Sheet. In addition, we also want to create a Lead in CRM based on the sender of the email (just to ensure we capture this hot lead).
Flow Service Steps: Creating the change to the Sheet and Lead in D365 Sales
1. Create a "New Flow from Blank"
2. Search for and select Gmail in Triggers
3. Within the Trigger, select "Advanced" and enter Michael's email in the from email (or some other unique way to identify Michael Phelps)
4. Click New Step > Add an action
5. Search for and select "Dynamics 365"
6. Click Create a new record
7. Select your:
- Entity Name (or entity of choice)
- Last Name
- Topic (using Dynamic Content)
- Email (using Dynamic Content)
8. Click New step > Add an action
9. Search for and Select "Google Sheets"
10. Enter your:
- item (what's being inserted into the row, using Dynamic Content)
11. Click Save
Now we will trigger a test to ensure the Flow executes correctly and inserts a row into our Google Sheet. To do so, click on "Test" within the upper right corner of the Flow. (Note: I updated the email address clause to use my work email during this test.)
Below is the successfully completed test in Flow:
Below is the outcome within the Google Sheet, resulting from the Flow test:
We did it! Flow will listen to my Gmail "from" and update the Google Sheet. The IFTTT service will then listen for a row to be added to my Google Sheet and, when it happens, turn on all the lights in the house no matter the time of day.
In conclusion, we think we can agree that this scenario is not likely: Michael probably won't email (but if he does…) However, let's not allow the unlikeliness of this scenario take away from the key learning point: we can overcome any challenge using the technology we have on hand. We were able to connect Gmail to D365 Sales for lead generation, link actions between disparate logical systems, and have fun along the way – all at a low cost and without custom code. Flow and IFTTT are indeed great tools alone, but in this case, they are even more powerful together.
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