As Americans rediscover their garage, door companies see an opening

Until recently, the American garage door was nothing more than a functional piece of hardware people didn’t think much about.  Then along came motorized garage door openers and the world was changed by a small hand-held remote control. Free from having to manually open the door and often brave inclement weather, consumers found life was good.

Then in 2015, Chamberlain introduced the first smart garage door opener with Wi-Fi, providing new features such as remote monitoring of door status, remote control, access history, shared access, and more. There were no more worries about forgetting to close the door, letting a neighbor in when not at home, or checking on whether a loved one got home safely.  Genie launched Aladdin Connect that same year, though Chamberlain and its sister professional dealer brand LiftMaster have dominated the product category for years. 

The wireless controller integrated in the opener hardware package spawned a retrofit controller, a small Wi-Fi enabled box that could convert any motorized garage door controller to a smart garage door controller by translating the wireless data signals to commands the older openers could understand. Last holiday season, Chamberlain offered its myQ retrofit controller for as low as $24.98. And, consumers found life could be even better.

During the pandemic, the garage was rediscovered as a shared space for everything from fitness and fandom in the man-cave, to cars, hobbies, and side-hustle projects. Product developers of smart garage door systems have been imagining new features that include cameras, upgraded lighting packages, and integration with peripheral security devices and other sensors. The future smart garage may well become an ecosystem of products on its own stretching into the outdoors and yard.

In-garage delivery services have offered one of the latest expansions of smart garage functionality. Through integrations first with Amazon and more recently with Walmart, owners of Chamberlain and Genie smart garage door openers can have deliveries safely stashed in their garages without having someone enter the main part of their home. Interpret research finds that 25% of owners of smart garage door openers have tried these services and will use them again. Another 24% are familiar with these services and want to try them in the future.

“While the smart garage door opener has not been adopted as quickly as some other products, its progress has been steady as manufacturers added more and more value from connectivity,” says Interpret Vice President Brad Russell. “Today, many homebuilders are installing smart garage door openers as standard because it’s a relatively low-cost product that creates everyday value and a little ‘wow’ for homebuyers.”

Chamberlain recently claimed there are 37 million installed garage door openers of its own brands that have the myQ controller built-in, but owners may not know it and are missing out on their value. This often happens when ownership of homes changes hands or renters move-in with no orientation to the home’s features. The company’s “Look Up” campaign encourages everyone to look for the myQ logo on the hardware.

Learn more about smart access control including consumer data on smart garage door openers and smart door locks with Interpret’s latest publication: Smart Home Matrix: Consumer –  Smart Access Control.