Homes and businesses have been using gates as a form of security for centuries. But technological advances, especially over the past five to 10 years, have changed the way gates are operated. In particular, the advent of the smartphone has opened the door (both figuratively and literally) for a variety of options, such as being able to operate your gate to let someone in even if you’re on the opposite side of the world.

Back in the day, homeowners with gates would have to get out of their cars to open the gate, enter, and then manually close and lock the gate before entering their homes. Tom Austin, project manager at All City Fence, notes that this process was inefficient — not to mention somewhat unpleasant.

“With all the rain we get in Seattle, automatic gates are really popular for those kinds of reasons,” says Austin. Furthermore, automatic gates add an extra level of security.

Using technology to manage an automated gate

If you’re considering installing an automated gate, Austin says there are several key things to take into account. For example, there’s the option of a call box for a visitor which allows you to communicate with the person who’s at the gate.

Thanks to technological advances in automated fences, homeowners and business owners now have a number of ways to manage who’s coming and going. “You can put schedules in for specific times and hand out codes to people like your landscaper or housekeeper,” Austin explains. “You can make those codes for specific days and times so you have control over who you’re letting into your property.”

The technology for automatic gates has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years. “It used to be the Wild West,” says Austin. “Anyone could stick a motor on a gate and make it open and close using everything from homemade-type jobs to really basic stuff that was out there on the market.” However, after a child was injured by a garage door, there has been more oversight of the industry, and automatic gates fall under that umbrella.

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Austin says that with more safety measures put in place, automatic gates have become more sophisticated. “Sensitivities are now built into the machines for safety,” he says. “So now the machine will sense if it’s pushing too hard and it’s going to assume there’s an obstruction in the way, whether it’s a person or a car or whatever else. In that situation, it will sense that extra power demand and stop and reverse the gate in that kind of situation.”


Using your smartphone to operate your gate

Arguably the biggest development in how gates are managed is the ability to manage the gate from a smartphone. When your gate is installed, you can also download an app on your phone that allows you to manage who can get in and out.

“Getting the app and setting up the account is pretty easy,” says Austin. There are several apps depending on which manufacturer you use to install your gate. In addition to having the app on your phone, you’ll also have an online account.

Once this is set up, it gives you a lot of options and a way to control your gate even if you’re on the opposite side of the world. The apps provide a live video on your smartphone so you can see exactly who’s at the gate and communicate with that person. “You can be on vacation and get a notification on your smartphone that someone is at your gate,” says Austin. Using the video service to communicate in real time, you can then decide whether or not to let them in.

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