Plavecsky's Ponderings By Jim Plavecsky
by Jim Plavecsky
November 18th, 2021

Automating Door and Window Access – A Cure for the Pandemic Pups

Part of the fun associated with being in the door and window industry is seeing the development of innovative accessory products. These products leverage the functionality of doors and windows to help improve our lives.

When the pandemic first hit, we rescued a dog that we named “Brinny.” Rescuing an animal from a shelter not only rescues the dog or cat itself but is also great therapy for the new owners. In a sense, we are also being rescued. Due to concerns about COVID-19, my wife was working at home. So, more often than not, one of us has been available to spend lots of time with Brinny. But dogs also love to have other dogs as companions too. If you are a dog lover, then you know that one very active dog often leads to acquiring a second dog as a playmate. So, we rescued a second dog who we named “Clifford.” And yes – he does look like the one in the book, although not quite as big!

Then comes the vaccine. My wife, Heidi, is a nurse. She now sometimes has to work outside of the house during the day. So, If I am also traveling on those days, the dogs are left home alone. So, what do we do with the pups? Will these newly rescued dogs, who went from being isolated at a shelter to being with at least one of their human companions nearly all the time, suddenly be left home alone for hours on end? Dogs in this situation will surely suffer from separation anxiety, which could affect their health, both physically and psychologically. A term has even popped up for this phenomenon. They call them “Pandemic Pups.”

Enter Wayzn. Or should I say, “enter and exit” Wayzn.

Wayzn is a fairly new company founded by two entrepreneurs, Mike Demele and Adam Smithline. Wayzn has developed a device that works with any sliding glass door to open and close it from wherever you are – home or away. It is easily installed into the track section of your patio door and is secured on one side to the non-operating panel while hooking into a slot that attaches on the other side to your operating panel. You then plug it into any wall socket for power, install the Wayzn App and link the system to your home Wi-fi. Then, when you are away, you simply open the app, and press a button to open or close your patio door. It also has an optional scanning device mounted on it which can detect your pet’s presence near the doorway to open or close the door if you so choose. After learning of this device and talking to the system’s co-creator and company co-founder, Mike Demele, I knew I had to try one.

First, I had to replace my French door with a sliding patio door because the Wayzn only works with sliding doors. This was no easy task given current lead times. However, I managed to find a stock patio door made by Plygem at our local Home Depot, which just happened to fit our opening. Next, I had to find an installer. Once again – no easy task, since good installers, as we all know, are few and far between these days. Then I remembered that my stepson, Alex, learned to install doors and windows working a summer job at Thermal Windows in Tulsa. So, Alex got the install job and I had a sliding patio door installed in a matter of days. Installing the Wayzn itself was easy. I did that part myself in less than an hour.

So, on occasions when I am traveling and Heidi is also away from the home, I just simply look in on Brinny and Cliffy using house cameras. When they are not snoozing on the couch and look like they are in the mood to go out and play, I simply talk to them through the camera microphone, tell them it’s time to go out and then open and close the door using Wayzn. Unlike other pet doors, which can sometimes compromise home security, this Wayzn Smart Pet Door actually enhances home security by securely blocking the channel of your sliding door. Just make sure you are operating it on a secure Wi-fi system.

I spoke again with Mike yesterday. I had to call him personally and give this system that he and Adam created a huge thumbs up!

Mike says that Wayzn is also developing smart systems for windows incorporating smart sensors and thermostats to automatically open windows to regulate ventilation to specifically desired levels. The only thing holding them back at the moment is a shortage of some needed components – go figure!

Combining doors and windows with electronic technology to create these so called “smart systems” is an area that is just getting started. This field offers a huge potential to automate and regulate access, security, and living conditions. It is an area that every door and window company should be exploring. If you have any doubts about how such technology can impact our lives, just ask Brinny and Cliffy!

This blog is from Door and Window Market [DWM] magazine's free e-newsletter that covers the latest door and window industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to [DWM] magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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