Hot on the heels of its latest smart door lock release, Wyze is launching a garage door controller to manage access for that other way into your home. The Wyze Garage Door Controller launches today and costs $39.99 plus shipping. This gadget lets you control and view your garage door from anywhere using a Wyze Cam v3 and a controller box, so you can see the door while you open or close it remotely using the Wyze app. Instead of using a contact sensor to monitor the state of your door as similar products do, Wyze is deploying some AI tech to its integrated camera to watch your door.
A smart garage door controller is a retrofit device that connects to your existing motorized door opener to let you control it remotely over a Wi-Fi connection — such as when you’re out of range of your regular clicker or car visor button. It’s a lot like a smart door lock but for your garage door, and it can help solve that age-old problem of panicking when you can’t remember if you left the garage door open (and driving all the way back home to check). There are also some garage door openers with this tech built-in, so no need for an add-on controller.
Wyze says its device is compatible with most brands of openers, and there’s an online checker you can use to see if yours is one of them. But it is unlikely the Wyze controller will work natively with the most popular garage door opener brands, Liftmaster or Chamberlain, which use a proprietary controller system. Companies like Meross and Tailwind have devised a kludgy workaround where you have to wire the controller into a remote control device to get around Chamberlain’s proprietary technology. Wyze hasn’t said if it has a similar solution or if it will work with those brands. We’ve reached out for clarification.
Unlike most other smart garage door controllers, Wyze’s device doesn’t use a contact or tilt sensor to determine if the garage door is open or closed. Instead, it relies on the AI smarts of its camera to see the state of your door.
Well, sort of. It doesn’t seem to use on-device machine learning to determine if your garage door is open — rather, the Wyze Cam Garage Door Controller has its camera watching for a QR code. Yes, you have to stick a giant QR code onto the inside of your garage door for this to work.
While a slightly odd solution, it’s certainly an innovative one and addresses a common problem with many of the current options. Even the most reliable of sensors can provide a false reading for one reason or another. The last thing you want to happen when you’re miles away from home is to open your garage door rather than shut it. (This is something I experienced when testing a garage door controller, and it’s why I always recommend you also get a camera for some visual verification.) Whether a big QR code sticker will fare better remains to be seen.
The hardware is comprised of two parts: a Wyze Cam v3 and the Garage Door Controller module, a small white box that attaches to the Wyze Cam using a Micro USB cable. That box then wires into your door opener to tell it when to open or close. (It just tucks in next to the existing wires, so there’s no need for soldering.) It doesn’t take away functionality from your existing wall button or remote clickers.
You install the camera upside down on the ceiling of your garage by your door opener. It attaches to a magnetic mount and needs to be near the controller module, which you wire into the opener. Wyze supplies double-sided tape and magnetic mounts, so there’s no need for any screws or drilling, just a nearby power outlet on the ceiling.
Whenever the door opens or closes, the camera records a video, which you can view in the Wyze app. There is limited free storage (12 seconds in length) or unlimited if you subscribe to Wyze’s Cam Plus service (from $1.25 a month). The camera has 1080p color night vision, and, with Cam Plus, you also get people, package, and vehicle detection. There’s also the option of using a removable microSD card for 24/7 recording.
Recently it emerged that Wyze had failed to tell its customers about a long-standing security issue with its first-generation Wyze Cam. This lack of transparency amplifies any concerns people might have about using connected cameras in and around their homes, especially devices that allow access to it.
The Wyze app has a number of options for notifications, including if your door is left open or when it is opening or closing. An open / close history shows you when it was operated, and you can open or close the garage using a button in the app. You can also use the Wyze app’s Rules engine to set the door to close automatically at a certain time of day or use geolocation to have it close automatically when you leave home.
The Wyze Garage Door Controller can only control one door, so you would need one for each if you have multiple garage doors. It will work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control and integration into smart home routines.
Wyze is selling the garage door controller in a bundle with the Wyze Cam v3, but you can also purchase a Wyze Garage Door Controller Replacement Part Kit, which does not include the Wyze Cam v3, for $18.99 plus shipping. The controller only works with the Wyze Cam v3 — not any of the company’s earlier models.
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