• Connected Garage: Smart Opener Tech

    March 29, 2017 | Blog
  • How many times have you left the house, only to circle back around the block to double-check that you closed the garage door? It’s only one of the garage door opener annoyances becoming a thing of the past thanks to smart garage door opener technology. Extend your home automation beyond your primary living space—you might be surprised just how smart your garage door can be!

    Why Upgrade to a Smart Garage Door Opener Solution?

    Open door alerts

    Even if smart garage door automation solves only this one problem, the peace of mind alone (not to mention wasted retraced paths) is worth it. Your smartphone or other devices can warn you that the door was open—and even if they don’t, you’ll have remote access to verify whether the door is up or down. We all have a lot on our minds, so the simple tasks of opening and closing doors, turning on and off lights, etc., are the things that we do (or sometimes don’t) with little or no thought—so they can pop up in our minds and cause doubt. Easily dismiss those doubts, distractions, and wonderings when you can easily log in and know.

    Virtual assistant integration

    Why wait for an after-the-fact reminder to close your door, when you can employ Siri, Alexa, or another virtual assistant to just make it happen when you leave the house? Some garage door opener automation solutions can interface with native smartphone and smart home systems, such as Siri or Alexa. Location-based alerts and workflows, combined with voice-activation, can task your garage door to determine not only its own state, but your location, and take appropriate action. You’ve left the house? The door is still open? Your virtual assistant can jump into action and close the door to secure your home.

    Special delivery

    Ever ordered a particularly pricey item and spent delivery day biting your nails hoping it would still be on the front step when you got home? Major shipping companies often allow you to add notes to your delivery record, so why not say, “Call or text my at (cell number) and I’ll open the garage door for delivery.” From wherever you are, you can verify it’s the delivery company, open the door (and close it again), and know that your items are safely stowed inside. Of course, for safety’s sake, lock your interior garage door so that your whole home isn’t readily open at the same time.

    Be our guest

    In-laws coming for a visit? Old friends popping into town? Prefer not to give the babysitter a spare key? Garage door automation allows you to open the door and provide entry to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and all under your control. It’s convenient for you and them—and still secure.

    Forget-me-not

    These days, we’d leave behind (in random places) who-knows-what, but we won’t forget our cell phones. So even if you don’t have a remote keypad, your phone will provide you access even if your keys have been left… wherever. And even in the event that you lost the phone too… well, your spouse, significant other, or bestie can let you in remotely. Consider it the spare “digital” key that is much safer than just hiding one under the mat.

    What the Tech?

    Home automation, including garage door openers, uses one of two primary technologies: Bluetooth and WiFi. Bluetooth may have a cheaper entry cost, but it is local. It can only operate within about 30 feet of its location. So if you just want faster access to your entryways, then Bluetooth is a fine choice. However, for remote access and the numerous ways it can help you manage the largest entry to your home, you want to install (or add on) WiFi access so that your garage door opener is connected to your home internet connection, and therefore accessible to any internet device that can log into it. Want to open your door from, well, anywhere? Then go with WiFi.

    Safety first

    How secure is a smart-enabled garage door opener? Well, once upon a time, garage doors were easily hacked by anyone who could access the unlock code of a standard remote (the type you have on your car’s visor). Improvements to technology provided the “rolling code” system… but some people (especially conspiracy theorists) claim these can still be hacked if you press your button too many times. But generally, with the standard systems, your garage door is safely secured, and other protections like safety lights and alarm company subscriptions will go a long way. So the question isn’t so much about security of the door, but of being online. The reality is that as long as your WiFi is password-protected and properly configured for security, your garage door access will also be secure. The larger threat (or at least challenge) is power: if the power (or internet) is out, so is your remote access. But power outages affect any type of remote. So you’d have to either wait out the outage or invest in a generator. Security, however, is very achievable.

    Native vs Add-On

    If you’re installing a new garage door system or upgrading an aging opener, then choosing a device with integrate smart features is a great choice and reasonable investment. But if your system isn’t that old and is functioning correctly, you don’t have to wait several years to enjoy this technology. Add-on modules are available, compatible with multiple brands of garage door openers. Give us a call so we can help you choose the system that will work for you!

Hurricane Irma Recovery

The Overhead Door Depot stands with our community in the midst of Hurricane Irma and through the cleanup in the days, weeks, and months to come. Please stay safe and give us a call for professional assistance in getting your garage door open, repaired, replaced, and functioning again. Watch for special rates and discounts as we work together to help our community recover.