You might not have heard of the Chamberlain Group, but odds are you’ve definitely used their products — you might even have them in your own home.
For more than 40 years, the company has been a global leader in access control solutions with its LiftMaster garage door opener brands and myQ-connected technology.
They’re also pioneering the tech that lets the Amazon delivery guy easily and securely drop off your packages in your garage while you’re
President and COO Jeff Meredith joined Chamberlain Group last year after serving as computer giant Lenovo’s GM & SVP, Consumer Business Group., Since coming on board, Jeff is focused on bringing software insights to the company’s strong hardware foundation.
“We’ve got a really strong history of making great hardware — good mechanics, very reliable, durable hardware over time,” says Jeff. “Now we’ve upgraded our skill and our talent from a software standpoint so we can start to build solutions that can be monitored remotely.”
Jeff’s goal is to continue improving access because opening a garage door should be as easy as a tap of a button on your phone. He joins us to discuss Chamberlain Group’s history of innovation, the business evolution, and how partnerships help get it all done.
A track record of reliability
First and foremost, Jeff believes that Chamberlain Group’s longevity is their secret to success. “Everything has to work in a reliable fashion,” he says. “You get one shot.”
Chamberlain Group has been nailing the hardware game since the company’s early days. That reliability, he says, is the key to cultivating deep relationships that ultimately get their products to market. Today, Jeff says Chamberlain Group’s strong foundation enables the company to think forward.
“Looking at what we’ve enabled historically — reliable access — what we’re going to enable in the future is reliable access,” says Jeff. “We’re just going to enable you to do that in a broader ecosystem.”
As the company transforms to focus more on the tech, Jeff explains the shift is from access to connected access to “marry an array of different access solutions together.”
Innovating before apps were even a thing
Most people might not immediately associate a hardware company like Chamberlain Group with technological innovation. In fact, that connection didn’t exactly come naturally to Jeff, either.
“It was an interesting move for me to come from a blue blood tech company, into a company that’s known historically for door openers and commercial openers,” says Jeff.
But in fact, if you take a closer look, Chamberlain Group has a track record with innovation; they were the first to generate important technological advances like the ability to access garage doors remotely, as well as safety “eyes” to ensure that nothing gets in the way when you’re backing out of your garage.
“It’s not necessarily the technology innovation that we think of today, in that it didn’t originate in an app form,” says Jeff. “But it was advancement and innovation.”
Chamberlain Group’s current goal is to continue improving their products by fusing hardware and software: “I think the flow and the combination of those two things around solving a problem are where true innovation comes,” says Jeff.
Identify the ‘points of friction,’ and partner up
Whether you’re having packages delivered or your dog walked, chances are you have lots of people approaching your home’s entry points all the time.
“We all are getting multiple Amazon Prime packages delivered, and they’re coming to a point of entry, but not entry,” says Jeff. Packages disappear, you have to let in the cleaners, and sometimes that means you have to stay home when you don’t want to. That’s where the company wants to make your life easier and remove this “friction point.”
“So we looked at the points of conflict associated with that particular access event,” says Jeff. “It screams, ‘needs a solution.’”
Their answer? The myQ technology, which enables smartphone control for most garage door opener brands made after 1993. Through the myQ App, homeowners can check the status of their garage door and open or close it from anywhere.
But rather than work independently, Jeff emphasizes the value of partnering strategically. That’s why Chamberlain Group has linked up with Amazon to enable Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery, which is currently available and free to Amazon Prime members in 50 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S.
“The problem you’re trying to solve typically has more than one constituent,” says Jeff. “There’s value for them, there’s value for us, there’s value for the consumer in the equation.“
Jeff is well positioned to maximize business partnerships. Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with Amazon, Facebook, as well as Google. The business climate today sets the stage for a win-win for the consumer, he says.
“Ten years ago, you wanted to hold your innovation really close,” Jeff observes. “Today you actually want to share your innovation with the people that would also benefit from it and enable it to be accessible to a much broader audience.”