Saturday, 22 June 2013

Garage Door and Gate Automation - A look at the latest technology and apps

By Derek Hibbart, Garage Door & Gate industry veteran and Editor of this Blog and the Door Industry Journal

In this feature we take a look at some of the latest technology that is being developed primarily for garage doors and automated gates but with the option in some cases for it to be used to control lighting, entrance doors and even domestic appliances from your smart phone or tablet.

Looking back to when I first became involved in the garage door and gate automation business back in 1982, the technology available then was distinctly analogue when compared to some of the existing and emerging technology available today.

For instance, does anyone remember the Garamatic garage door openers with infra-red remote control or the flashlight commander system, from if memory serves me correctly, Apex Doors in Bolton? Infra-red worked reasonably well as long as the sun was not out and the flashlight commander was somewhat erratic for a different reason, which I can’t quite remember.

Moving on to the 21st century........

Since the launch of Apple’s iPhone (TM) in 2007 the UK’s love affair with smart phones has just kept on growing. 

In 2012 over 50% of the mobile phones owned in the UK were smart phones, with people using them as intended, for internet browsing, calling, texting, emailing and now with the right kit installed you can even operate your garage door or gate or even more using a smart phone!

Anyone who attended BAU 2013 in Munich, Germany back in January will have noticed a plethora of App based control systems for anything from garage doors to roof blinds, all of which attracted a great deal of interest from visitors. Now as a result of this new technology, a number of manufacturers are bringing solutions to the UK and European markets.

Gary Ryecroft MD of Control Station Limited, an expert in this field comments:
"We have seen the growth of mobile apps in many consumer areas in recent years and now we are faced with exciting new possibilities and opportunities within the door and gate sector. One of the challenges is to make the technical set up and configuration as simple as it is to download and install an application on your mobile device, while maintaining compliance with security and safety requirements"
So what is currently available or soon to be launched on to the UK market? 

Well, the first to show their hands were Liftmaster with their myQ enabled technology and Bernal with their Homewave control system, both of which were promoted in our December issue - on pages 42 and 22 respectively.

To follow on from our last issue, we’ll take a look at what’s available now and what is coming over the next couple of months. As you will see, we have summarised each product in quite a detailed manner, because each of the products represented offer slightly different technology and features.

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