Open your garage door with your iPhone

Open your garage door with your iPhone

Summary: A new line of garage door openers announced at CES12 use a RF transmitter, Internet gateway and iOS app to allow you to operate your garage door from your iPhone.

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One novel thing that caught my eye from CES 2012 was the announcement of an iPhone-compatible garage door opener -- of all things.

Liftmaster announced its new 8360 and 8550 garage door openers (below) at CES12 with built-in RF transmitters. Called MyQ, the included radio communicates with other MyQ-enabled devices in your home.

Open your garage door with your iPhone - Jason O'Grady

The brains of the operation is the 828LM Internet Gateway accessory (below) that plugs into your Internet router via Ethernet (video). The 828LM is the bridge that puts the 8360 and 8550 openers on the Internet where, of course, anything is possible.

Open your garage door with your iPhone - Jason O'Grady

In addition to sending signals to a MyQ-enabled garage-door opener, the 828LM can also control the Liftmaster Remote Light Control (825LM) and Remote Light Switch (823LM) enabling you to turn on the lights in your house from your iPhone. It's fun, but pretty rudimentary as far as home automation goes.

Liftmaster mentions that more MyQ-enabled accessories are in the works in this video by Information Week's David Berlind at CES12:

My garage door opener's remote is on the fritz (tried everything) but the the opener itself still works from the button inside the house. It's making this new Liftmaster rig is looking sexier by the minute. The problem is that the radio and gateway that enable the iPhone control isn't backwards-compatible with my old-school opener (or any other opener for that matter).

If you want the cool, new features, you'll have to pony up $350-$500 to have it installed by a Liftmaster dealer.

But, is it worth it? It depends.

It's probably worth splurging on a new Internet-connected Liftmaster unit if you're building a new house, replacing a garage door opener that just died (ahem!), or if you're independently wealthy. Personally, I'm going to research the (much-less expensive) DIY Arduino route first.

What do you think? Do you want one?

Update: The installation video (and product page) mentions that an "annual activation fee is required." Liftmaster tells me that the first year of service is free, and that each additional year is $14.99 -- or roughly just over a dollar a month starting with year two.

Seriously, an annual fee to open my garage door? You've got to be kidding me!

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

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13 comments
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  • Open the Pod bay doors Siri!

    nt
    Tigertank
  • Uh, nah.

    This is an instance of taking something that is very simple and complicating it to death with technology. As of now and for as long as I remember, opening my garage door was a one button, one touch job. My current car even has a dedicated learnable button so I don't need the controller itself. If it were on my phone I'd have to find my phone, unlock it, open the app then execute the command. I suppose that if I'd left home and left the door open (and somehow KNEW I did) then I could close it remotely, but so far, this has never happened in my life. I'll pass.
    dgdamore
    • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

      @dgdamore - yes. I agree. Besides, I have had a remote control app on my iPhone for 2.5 years that opens my garage door, turns on my tv, changes channels, etc. I never use it because their are easier ways. So my question is why is this product new??
      The Danger is Microsoft
      • What is the app

        Could you tell me the app you have that has been changing the channel, volume,garage door?
        Nurse Annie
    • Not to mention the security issues involved.

      @dgdamore

      So now you'd have an extra device that would need to connect to the wireless network emanating from your house, designed to accept signals *via the Internet* from an iPhone app... and since the signal is sent via an *external* Internet source, there's now the possibility that a hacker can now get the code for your garage door opener. Maybe that's OK, though, as long as a) you don't store anything expensive in your garage (snowblowers, other garden tools, etc.), and b) your garage is detached from your house.

      No way, no how, will this ever be installed in my garage.
      spdragoo
      • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

        @spdragoo@...
        I agree, that was the first concern that popped into my mind as I read the above article. Of course the hackers may also pilfer the car's central locking code, and track the GPS, then they may download any images you may have taken of the inside of your house, to find out if you or your family has any stuff worth stealing, and to get an idea of the layout of your house; they may confirm it's your house by looking at the geo-tagging information in the images' metadata, or as a bonus they may get information on your relatives' houses if you happen to have images of their house in your smart 'phone.

        The hackers may pass on this intelligence to the members of their criminal gang who organize the break-ins. The criminals go to the mall's car park where you shop (using the provided GPS coordinates), use their smart 'phones to attempt to unlock each car, until they find your car, and drive off in your car to your house, unlock the garage and if the garage is part of the house enter your house, and quickly load up your valuables, and drive off.

        You finish your shopping, and then you find your car is missing, after a search by the shopping mall security guards fails to find your vehicle, leading to the only conclusion that it's been stolen, results in a filing of a stolen vehicle report, hours later you return home in a taxi only to find your home's been ransacked, and after filing another police report you contact the insurance company to file a stolen vehicle claim and a stolen property claim.

        There are many design Engineers with honors degrees with youthful exuberance, enthusiastically designing these high-technology accessories, for all of their academic brilliance, who don't give enough thought or consideration to the security implications of their products for the end user.
        neilrued
  • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

    Another one of those dumb and useless apps.
    rocketman67
  • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

    I already open my garage door using an X-10 device and an android phone app.
    sodrak
  • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

    Another razor blade company I say.... charging your $15 a year to allow you to open you garage door via the internet, unless they can guarantee to secure your garage door from hackers from the I can see paying the the fee but otherwise it is an expensive toy that invites hackers to try to open or lock (so even you can't open it) your garage door.

    I could see it now.
    You via Siri: "Open the garage door"
    Siri "I can't"
    You: "I force you to open the garage door"
    Siri: "Sorry I can't do that"
    You: "Who told you to you can't open the garage door"
    Siri: "Hal the hacker, you must pay him/her $10,000 so he can allow you to open the garage door"
    phatkat
  • RE: Open your garage door with your iPhone

    Pretty useless toy with ease of hacking. What a GREAT idea.
    LostValley
  • And then there's always the manual option

    There's always a manual option. Get out of the car, put the key in the keyhole, turn the key, open the garage door. That little bit of exercise won't hurt and burns a few calories too.
    invenio
  • Profesional Solution to open garage door with your smartphone

    If you want to open your garage door with your smartphone, try www.ismartgate.com.
    kotiko_st
  • This is cool but too expensive

    iHued.com sell a cable for 39 bucks and you can not only open/close your garage thought the internet, but it also uses a webcam so you can watch the garage open/close. You can also check if the door is open/closed by just watching the webcam... Cheap and its way better then this, just google iHued cable
    carguy111