Answer: Garageio was born out of frustration. I went to the store to buy a replacement garage remote and was struck by how costly they were for how simple they were. On the ride home (after not buying a remote), I figured that I could make something better and smarter. After a vote of confidence from co-founder Dave Reif, we got to work.
Q: Whom did you team up with, and how long did it take to craft a prototype?
A: Dave and I have quite complementary skill sets, which made the decision to involve Dave an easy one. He and I had a prototype up and running after 12 hours of work the following Saturday. This version, of course, did not end up the final product. However, we proved to ourselves that we could overcome the obstacles we knew we would face.
Q: You were working full time when you began work on the project in October 2012, right? Where were you employed at the time?
A: I was working full time as a consultant at a local firm. Ironically, Dave also was working there. This is not where we met, however. We went to undergrad together and got a chance to work on a few extracurricular projects.
Q: How did this new business venture play into your strengths and passions as an engineer?
A: I think it is strange how well a product like Garageio pulls on the wide variety of skills I have learned over the years. I consider myself much more of a “systems” kind of engineer rather than an expert in any one thing. This really served me well in covering a number of facets in Garageio.
Q: As you set to work on designing the product, what elements became most important both for the app and the hardware?
A: Dave and I recognized a number of traits which made products — especially “Internet of things” products — successful, and we made it a point to prioritize these things. We knew the user experience was hugely important, as well as making it simple to install. Additionally, we got a lot of pressure to add an IP camera to it or turn it into a full-blown home-automation system. We knew that we needed to focus Garageio on being what it was designed to be and no more.
Q: How does Garageio work?
A: Garageio works as a supplement to your existing garage-door controls. After installing Garageio, you can open and close it using your Android, iPhone or desktop computer via your account dashboard. You can also check to see if it is open or closed. Garageio will also notify you if you happen to leave your door open for too long.
Q: Who can access the controls? How many people/users per device?
A: The account owner can choose to share access to their Garageio with family members, neighbors and anyone else of their choosing. For the purpose of controlled scaling, we limit the number of users to 10 per Garageio. Only the account owner can add and remove access to invited users.
Q: What are the benefits over a standard remote opener or keypad system?
A: A standard remote opener and keypad are great for the purpose they were designed to serve. However, these components do no good if you have already left home or if you forget to close the door after getting home for the night. Garageio aims to make your dumb garage as smart as the rest of your world.
Q: What sets Garageio apart from similar products?
A: There definitely is a little activity in this space nowadays, but Garageio is certainly the only product that combines being able to remotely control/monitor up to three separate doors and sharing access with friends and loved ones, all with a top-notch user experience. Garageio also boasts compatibility with most all openers (manufactured) since 1985.
Q: Who manufactures the Garageio device?
A: We have worked long and hard to set up a solid supply chain for early production. We are proud to say that all of our product is made and assembled in the United States. Our circuit boards are made in Colorado (Advanced Circuits) and assembled in Oregon (Screaming Circuits). The plastic enclosures are manufactured in Minnesota (Protolabs), labeled in Columbus (Extended Resources) and assembled in Columbus. Our sensors and other peripherals are made in Ohio as well.
Q: Was your LLC founded shortly before launching Garageio?
A: Garageio is indeed the first product developed by Alottazs Labs LLC. We founded the company so we could pursue creating high-quality consumer products in the connected-devices space, like Garageio.
Q: What feedback have you received from customers as you’ve started to roll out the devices?
A: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our early customers love how simple it is to use and that they can give access to important people in their lives. We are not surprised. Garageio is lucky to have a lot of passionate and talented people working on it to make it the best product possible.