Once upon a time (more than 50 years ago), homeowners had to manually lift the garage door to get their car in and out. It was a backbreaking and inconvenient task that was solved with the automated garage door opener.
Today, for 70% of households, the garage has become the main entry point to the home, and one of most heavily accessed spaces – a bustling throughway with cars, bikes, kids and dog walkers coming and going daily. Over the years, innovations in garage door opener technology have made this hard-working extension of the home a safer, more secure space. In honor of Garage Door Safety Month, an initiative of the International Door Association (IDA), we’ve curated a list of some of the most important garage door opener technology advancements designed over the years to keep homeowners safe.
1.Photo Eye Safety Sensors
One of the first significant contributions to improving safety was when photo eye safety sensors were introduced in 1993. This revolutionary product allowed garage door openers to sense when an object (or person) was obstructing the door. If something or someone was in the way, the door would stop closing, and open back up again. The introduction of this technology significantly reduced tragic injuries and deaths involving the garage door and it is now required that all garage door openers manufactured in the United States be equipped with them.
2. Battery Backup
Extreme weather conditions have become more frequent over the past decade causing an increase of power outages, which can impact garage door operation. For homeowners who use their garage door as the main entry, a power outage can become not only an inconvenience but a major safety and security issue. In 2006, LiftMaster® was the first company to include a battery backup system in a garage door opener, allowing homeowners to safely get in and out of their garage even when the power is out.
3. Smartphone Control
In 2011 the first smart garage door opener was introduced, replacing the garage remote clicker with the smartphone. No longer limited to opening and closing the garage door within line of sight of the garage, homeowners can now open and close the garage door from anywhere with the myQ app. This innovative technology helps enhance the security of the garage and home with real-time alerts that let homeowners know if they left the garage door open. It also provides a safer way to share access to the home – no more having to share keys or codes with family, friends and neighbors. Homeowners can easily let who they want in through the myQ app or share access through the Guest Access feature within the app.
4. Secure In-Garage Delivery
As more and more people continue to forgo trips to the shopping mall for online shopping, they also want ways to make sure their packages get delivered securely, whether they’re home or away. In 2018, myQ technology paired with Amazon Key becoming the first to offer convenient and safe in-garage delivery service. Not only does in-garage delivery protect packages from going missing and inclement weather, but it also provides a safe solution by giving delivery drivers one-time, verified access to the garage – no need to give drivers any keys, codes or let them in.
5. Video Monitoring Capabilities
In 2019 the first garage door opener with a built-in camera was introduced to the market, adding streaming video, recorded events, motion detection and 2-way communication to the myQ app. At the same time, the first stand-alone smart garage camera was also introduced for those who weren’t in the market for a new garage door opener but wanted to enhance the safety of their home. With video monitoring capabilities, homeowners can see the garage door is closed, know exactly who’s coming and going and tell their neighbor where to find the ladder– even when they’re not home. As an added bonus, homeowners can even watch in-garage deliveries happen in real-time.
6. Intelligent Door State™ and Safe Remote Start™
Having your car safely park itself in the garage became possible in 2019, when STEER Tech, developers of autonomous parking technology, paired their technology with myQ. With myQ Intelligent Door State™, the STEER app can share real-time garage door status data for driverless cars, enabling the vehicle to understand if the homeowner’s garage door is open or closed, and therefore park itself. Additionally, understanding the state of the garage door helps mitigate risk of remote-starting and summoning a driverless car when the garage door is still closed. When closed, the myQ Safe Remote Start™ feature sends an automatic alert to the car owner through the STEER app letting them know it is unsafe to start the car and prompts the owner to open the garage door. This feature also provides an added safety check against hazardous carbon monoxide conditions in the garage as well as other potentially dangerous situations.
7. Smart Vehicle Access
myQ Connected Garage became the first software-based solution to bring garage control to a vehicle’s in-dash touchscreen in 2021. Mitsubishi and Mercedes-Benz are some of the first automobile manufacturers to offer in-vehicle touchscreen control or voice command, so drivers can keep their focus on the road and safely open and close their garage door from anywhere.
8. Remote Diagnostics
In 2021 smart garage door openers powered by myQ became the first to have remote diagnostic capabilities that keep track of the health of the entire garage door system. myQ Diagnostics™ lets homeowners know when there is an issue with their garage door system. Specific error codes will let them know if it’s something they can resolve on their own, like a misaligned safety sensor, or if it’s a bigger issue that requires a technician. Additionally, within the myQ app, homeowners can easily connect with a trusted Dealer and share their opener’s health report to ensure Dealers arrive with the correct parts for a rapid repair.