How Genie Entered the IoT Market

After introducing a retrofit package that allows users to control and monitor garage doors remotely, the company is now preparing upgrades based on customer feedback.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
May 27, 2016

The Alliance Manufacturing Co. began selling garage door openers in 1954. Since then, its products' basic design—a radio-controlled motor powering rods that pull a door up to open it and push it down to close it—has not changed. There have been some design embellishments in the intervening decades, such as the addition of motion sensors that stop the door's motion if an object is in the way, and the use of keypads to enable entry via a PIN. The Overhead Door Corp. purchased the firm, now called The Genie Co., in 1994, but the products remain essentially the same. They're also still manufactured in the United States, in Mount Hope, Ohio.

Last summer, The Genie Co. began selling Aladdin Connect, a retrofitting kit that connects the Genie garage door opener to the Internet of Things via a homeowner's Wi-Fi network. Now, after collecting feedback from consumers, the company is preparing to launch new services to grow Aladdin Connect's capabilities, explains Steve Janas, The Genie Co.'s VP and general manager for sales and marketing.

Aladdin Connect for the Genie garage door opener
Aladdin Connect has two functions: enabling a smartphone to open or close a garage door when a person is home, and sending alerts to that phone regarding the door's status when he or she is away. Why? Janas says security is one part of the value proposition.

Janas says that if he is out of town and receives an alert on his phone that his garage door has been opened at a time when no one should be home, there is not much he can do, aside from call family members. That's why Genie is working to integrate Aladdin Connect with Internet-linked home security systems, in addition to possibly integrating home security camera feeds into the Aladdin app, so that if a homeowner receives an alert that the door has opened, he or she can then tap into the camera feed to see who is there.

Customers report using Aladdin Connect to provide remote access as well, Janas says. "If you live in Chicago but are in Florida," he explains, "and your wife calls and says she can't get into the house because she doesn't have her keys, you can open the garage door."

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