Last April, Ars reported the curious case of an Internet of Things garage door developer that responded to negative reviews and complaints from a customer by closing the customer’s account—and in the process, rendering the product unusable. Now, Gardget founder Denis Grisak says he’s mended his ways, saying he’s opening up the firmware of his company’s popular device to allow customers to connect to the home automation software of their choice, instead of having to Rely on Gardget’s own cloud-based service.
Garageoriginal sound Indiegogo crowdfunded efforts, use the device controller connected to the Internet from Particle (Wi-Fi connected Proton) to provide remote control of garage doors through a smart phone application. The device works with existing garage door openers, essentially acting as an “internet-connected key” – allowing owners to remotely open or close their garage doors remotely via cloud service. A crowdfunding startup, Gardget has sold 5,000 apps, Grisak told Ars this week. About 3,000 of them are still active.
But some customers had trouble configuring the mobile app, and one took his complaints to Gardget’s local message board and then to Amazon—leaving the worst one-star review of the product. Grisak (who handles tech support himself) responded to what he saw as abuse from the customer by changing the customer’s key to a cloud service—essentially “bricking” the device by blocking its communications.
Grisak’s next Internet post went viral. After riding out the storm, Grisak reached out to Ars yesterday to announce that the incident had led to something of an awakening. In a Twitter direct message, Grisak (who confirmed his statement separately via email) said:
Hi Sean, Your article published last year about Gardget’s handling of an unsatisfied customer who had problems confirming the product addressed customers’ concerns about real ownership of IoT devices. With the latest firmware release we address these concerns by enabling an open source controller to integrate directly with local home automation systems. Thank you.
Gardget already provides packaging with a A number of different devices and home automation interface, including Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s HomeKit, and Samsung’s SmartThings. Them new firmware make additions support for knowledge MQTT A guide to the device, allowing Garadget owners to use other apps, with a Creative Commons license Home Assistantto control the device remotely without using a cloud-based communication channel.
Grisak transmission is something that the Particle platform has supported for a while in the MQTT toolkit is supported on Particle Photon (and other devices) since at least 2014. But there is no widespread download for consumer applications. MQTT still requires a broker “server” to handle messages, but it can run on something inexpensive like a Raspberry Pi. And as MQTT and other options become more accessible, more IoT device makers will hopefully come out to support the open standard—that is, unless they’re using proprietary cloud APIs to lock clients into obsolescence. .