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

Sometimes, Janas says, homeowners want to be able to schedule the door to open at regular intervals. "You might need UPS to drop off a package at the same time each week, but don't want to give the driver a code to enter the garage," he states. "We're working to upgrade the app to include timed events, so that, say, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 am, the garage door would open for 10 minutes and then close. Originally, we didn't think that would be appealing, but consumers are asking for something like this." Genie plans to push out the feature as an app later this year, Janas adds.

To develop Aladdin Connect, Genie worked with Exosite, which provides cloud services to enable IoT applications. Exosite supplies the enrollment and account-management services that power the Aladdin Connect app. The firm recently launched a new suite of offerings called Exosite Business Transformation Services, intended to help organizations design and market IoT-enabled products. Through its partner network, the company also recently introduced ExositeReady, a certified hardware program that includes a development board with an integrated Wi-Fi module and microcontroller, as well as the ExositeReady software development kit, designed to help users quickly and easily connect an IoT-enabled product to Exosite's cloud-based platform.

The Aladdin Connect retrofitting kit includes two pieces of hardware: a door-position sensor and a door-control module. The positioning sensor, mounted onto a garage door, is powered by a coin cell battery that lasts for roughly one year, and communicates with the control module via a Bluetooth connection—sending it either an "open" or "closed" message, based on the door's status. The control module communicates with the home's Wi-Fi network. (This assumes the home's Wi-Fi signal is adequately strong in the garage. If not, the router must be moved closer to the garage or an extender added to the network.)

"You attach the door control module to the door opener by screwing in two wires to the available ports on the [ceiling-mounted] door opener" or to the existing wall-mounted door opener, Janas explains. (In either case, he says, the control module needs to be plugged into a standard wall outlet as well.) In addition to Genie door openers, the Aladdin Connect is compatible with most other brands of garage door openers on the market, Janas says. (A full list is available here.)

The Aladdin Connect app is available on both the iOS and Android platforms. Lowe's and Home Depot sell the Aladdin Connect retrofitting kit for around $100.

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