On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, we took a question from Sam on our Voicemail hotline. Sam has a Chamberlain MyQ connected garage door opener and he wants to make it easier for his children to open the garage.
Currently, Sam can open the garage with his phone or with old-school Genie remotes typically attached to a car visor. His children are younger and need access to their toys in the garage. Are there smart, connected solutions for this situation? Sure, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best.
We’ll start with the connected device approach. Sam could connect his MyQ to IFTTT’s service, which would allow for a cloud-centric automation to open the garage. That would require some type of connected hardware, such as a button, for the kids to press. And, if Sam uses IFTTT for more than three automations, it adds a monthly subscription fee. Still, it’s an option.
Another choice would be to transition from Chamberlain’s MyQ platform to something more open. I personally like the Meross Smart Wi-Fi Garage Door opener. It’s inexpensive at around $40, works well and there are models that support Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home. It also works with more than 200 brands of garage door openers, although you should check the compatibility list before buying one.
The Meross option would also need some additional hardware for the kids to operate. That’s why we’re mentioning the Flic buttons, which Stacey is a big fan of.
These are small programmable buttons that work with more than 1,000 devices. You do need a Flic bridge, which makes this a little expensive for Sam’s garage door use case. The Flic 2 starter pack with three buttons and a bridge is available for $169.99.
After evaluating these and other connected solutions, I wonder if Sam just goes with a less complicated, inexpensive solution. Why not buy one or two more Genie push-button remotes for the kids?
These remotes only cost $40 or less. They only do one thing but they do it well: Open or close the garage door at the press of a button.
With the Genie remote, the kids have a simple way to get their toys from the garage and Sam still gets notifications from his MyQ app. I’d consider mounting the remote on a wall with some double-sided tape or Command Strip.
In this case, it may not make sense to complicate things with more smart gear. Just go old-school and keep it simple is my recommendation.
To hear Sam’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: