Making A Home Smart

Linking in-home devices to create communication with smart device

Who values a smart home? According to a recent survey, most Americans do. Eighty-seven percent of us acknowledge the worth of a smart home – and it’s not limited to just millennials or the techsavvy. Thirty-three percent of adults between 35 and 54, and 24 percent of those older than 55 years own smart-home technology. But what really makes a smart home “smart?”

Most homeowners say you need to have at least three of these four things: security locks/alarm systems, temperature control, lighting, and safety devices like fire or carbon monoxide detectors – all linked to a smart device. As a security dealer or integrator, I know you’ve got the security system part figured out, but what about the rest? How can you help your customers achieve the smart home they want? The answer might surprise you.

In fact, the answer is a frequently used smart-home device: a connected garage door opener.

More than smart door locks, network security cameras or even smart thermostats, more homeowners control a connected garage door opener through a smartphone app than any of these devices. That’s why when you’re consulting with your customers, it’s important to make a connected garage door opener part of your offering. It becomes even more important when you realize that with the right accessories, that connected garage door opener can also enable your customers to control home lighting and monitor temperature, the key factors that make a up a smart home.

CONNECTED GARAGE DOOR OPENERS

The benefits of connected home technology in the garage are obvious. Your customers most likely already receive smartphone alerts on breaking news or weather, but a connected garage door opener can tell them when their garage door opens, closes, or is left open accidently. When did their kids enter the garage after school? They’ll always know.

There are after-market products available which can turn most any brand of garage door opener into a connected opener. LiftMaster’s MyQ Garage, for example, installs in minutes and works with home Wi-Fi to achieve connectivity. It also works with the free MyQ app for smartphone control.

If a customer wants to install a new, connected garage door opener, start with one with built-in Wi-Fi. It makes it easy to make the initial connection to the internet, plus it doesn’t require another other equipment to buy like an internet gateway device and can easily connect to the app. The app easily integrates with other accessory devices such as remote light controls and remote light switches to be able to control home lighting. There are other advantages to a new garage door opener like increased quiet, especially with belt drive units, battery backup in case of power outages, and, of course, overall reliability.

MANAGING TEMPERATURE

With the MyQ app and a Nest Learning Thermostat, your customers can open the garage door when they arrive and the connected garage door opener can tell their Nest Thermostat they’re home. When they close the garage door on their way out, the thermostat will go into Away mode, so they don’t waste energy heating or cooling an empty home.

SECURITY AND SAFETY

A dark home could signal to unwanted visitors that homeowners are away. The connected garage door opener can work with remote devices to control home lighting. Your customers can simply plug in any lamp inside their house to the device and control it with their smartphone. With the MyQ app, they can also easily and conveniently schedule lights to go on and off whenever they choose.

More than 70 percent of homeowners use the garage as the main access point to the home, making safety and security a top priority. With Nest Cam, homeowners can have an added security element. While the app alerts users of garage door activity via smart phone push notifications, with Nest Cam, users can also access a video feed of what’s happening in the garage the moment the garage door is activated, allowing for enhanced security and peace-of-mind.

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Juan M. López is the director of marketing, connectivity and controls at LiftMaster.

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