Did you remember to close the garage door? If you're like me, you're already second-guessing yourself as you read this. Here's the good news: garage door openers are . You've got options when it comes to smart control of your garage. The Garager from startup Alcidae is one of the newest devices to provide those smarts, which encompass remote door control, as a well as live two-way audio and video streaming. While the Garager packs a punch in some areas, including its very reasonable $129 price (or even $99 on sale), it's still not the best option out there for smart garage management.
Alcidae is a startup based in San Francisco that's focused on smart home devices. The company currently sells two products: the Homester, an Outdoor HD camera, and the Garager. You can check out its website here. There are a lot of things that make this product feel not quite ready for prime-time: a slightly buggy and poorly formatted app, outdated information on Alcidae's website about which app to use, and a handful of highlighted features that are currently just promises. However, there are some bright spots. I'll start with design.
The Garager looks more like a smart security camera than a garage door hub or controller. A white plastic housing holds a round camera eye on a thin stem. It's a good-looking camera, and if it were a bit smaller, I'd be happy to place this somewhere inside my home. Unlike other cameras, the Garager mounts upside down, hanging from your existing garage opener. You have several mounting options here, but the easiest is to simply stick the Garager to the bottom of your current garage door opener via the magnet on the camera's base. That's the way I chose to test it out at the CNET Smart Home, and it held on tight without shaking the camera too much when the garage door raised and lowered.
Installing the Garager successfully does require a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection that reaches your garage. The Alcidae app guides you through connecting the Garager to your network. The Garager connects to the standard power outlet most garages have on the ceiling just above the garage door opener.
You'll also need to be comfortable attaching the Garger's two electrical wires to nodes on the back of your current opener to control open and close commands. To determine which wires go where, you'll need to take a look at your existing garage door opener's manual and define which wires are responsible for the open and close commands. There may be wires for sensors in addition to open and close wires. The Garager's instructions are concerningly vague on this front, likely because not all openers are wired the same. Once you've attached the two wires correctly and connected the Garager to Wi-Fi, you can finish setting up your device in the app.