Review: Piper, the king of indoor video security

Piper

What is Piper?

Piper is one of the first in a new wave of indoors security solutions. Born from an IndieGogo campaign back in 2013, Piper is currently thriving by providing a complete indoors security and home automation system packed into a single device.

Piper is jam packed with technology. It includes a smart video camera, a PIR (passive infrared) precise motion sensor to avoid false detection, bi-directional audio, several smart sensors (temperature, humidity, sound and light intensity), a loud siren and a home automation hub to control lights, remote sensors and all kinds of equipment.

With this array of technology Piper will let you monitor your home, getting alerts while you’re away (or sleeping) if anything unexpected, like people moving, is detected. You’ll be able to define a response plan (like turning on lights, sounding the siren, controlling locks, calling the police, etc.). You can also use Piper to drop in to your home and talk to your pets, family or check if your kids are nexus2cee_piper-vitals-1doing they homework when they arrive home. Piper is also monitoring your home temperature, humidity, light intensity, sound and movement permanently. You’ll be able to easily check this data and understand how you can enhance your home environment (through heating, ventilation, etc.).

Finally, one of the most interesting features in Piper is that you can define rules to control your home with using Z-Wave automation on other Z-Wave devices like lights, dimmers and sensors. With Piper you’ll be able to:

  • open your shutters and blinds when it’s sunny outside in the winter and save big in the heating bill;
  • lower your shutters or blinds in the summer when it’s getting hot inside and/or there is too much light in the room;
  • turn on the heating when it’s getting colder inside;
  • turn it off and save when the temperature is just fine;
  • detect motion on other locations or opening doors and windows with remote Z-Wave sensors;
  • when you’re home, turn on indoor and outdoor lights when presence is detected and it’s dark;
  • dim the indoor lights according to the light measured inside, great for patchy cloud days when sun comes and goes;
  • turn on the dehumidifier when humidity inside gets too high and vice-versa;
  • measure the results from your options like opening blinds and shutters and optimize your automation solution to achieve even better results.

Check our article on Z-Wave automation starter packs to get the most out of Z-Wave automation with Piper (coming soon).

Why Piper?

Classic security systems are composed of several motion and perimeter sensors but are usually blind. Even with additional video cameras the cameras are not usually integrated with the security systems and don’t provide a sound solution. These systems become complex, expensive and don’t really solve the security problem of detecting, let you confirm the situation and trigger a response plan (e.g. call the police or ask help from a neighbor). Piper’s wave of indoor security systems solves this by integrating into a single device a motion sensor, a high definition wide angle video camera and a powerful array of sensors.

Piper has a great camera, it captures 180 degrees around it, providing full coverage for your entire living room and lobby. You can zoom in and move your view all around the visible area, just as if you were home.

piper_vdwPiper’s camera has such a high definition and wide angle lens that you can create a small video-wall on your mobile with 4 different views showing different parts of your home all seen from Piper’s location.

Piper’s motion sensor is a passive infrared sensor with a good range of 30ft / 9 m, meaning that with Piper you’ll be able to detect only real motion, no confusing false alarms that may render other video based solutions in the market almost worthless after dozens of false detections.

In case motion is detected you can be notified by any combination of Android + iPhone App notification, text message (SMS), phone call and email. Anywhere you are, as long as you have cell range, you’ll be able to analyse and respond to the situations yourself. Even if you’re not reachable, you can setup rules to contact a list of backup contacts (trusted circle) like neighbors or family.

piper_away-100357774-mediumPiper is not only smart and versatile, but also very customizable. It is possible to completely configure the response to different detections (motion, loud sound, etc.) to define notification channels, if your trusted circle is notified, if the siren is turned on and actions that can be taken on Z-Wave devices, like turning on lights or closing doors or windows. The different rules can be defined for a set of different Piper modes (home, away or on vacation).

Piper includes a very loud siren (105dB) than can be set to automatically trigger when a detection occurs.

The response rules are also used to set common automation tasks like turning on the lights when you’re home and it’s dark. This kind of automation rules make Piper an extremely complete device both for security purposes, as you can enhance your Piper with additional remote sensors, and for home automation, as you can use Piper’s sensors to define actions on lights, door locks and all other sorts of devices.

For more information on the Z-Wave standard and how it compares with other automation standards check our home automation protocols comparison.

Piper nv

In January 2015, iControl, the company that owns Piper, released a new version of Piper with an improved 3.4MP night vision camera and a newer Z-Wave controller (series 500).

This means Piper nv will still let you see any events occurring without light as it has an infrared light to let you see in the dark and also an extreme camera with super high definition. It also means Piper nv has a better Z-Wave communication module, a longer range for Z-Wave devices and less chances for errors and communication problems.

Piper nv is absolutly the way to go unless you’re planning on using Piper with a light switch to turn on the lights when movement is detected so you can record and check on the event.

Piper nv will be available in Europe in 2015 between April and June.

Inside Piper

We put up a comparison table with all the features of Piper and it’s twin newer model Piper nv:

 PiperPiper nv
513tSzOzU5L._SY355_[1]pipernv
Camera
Lens TypeWide-angle 180º 4mm=
Stream ResolutionFullHD 1920x1080=
Megapixels23.4
Night Vision (Infrared)516983[1]bigtick[1]
Features
Pan Tilt Zoombigtick[1] Virtual
4x mini video wall
=
AudioDual audio - microphone + speaker=
Siren105 dB=
DetectsMotion (with Passive Infrared sensor
up to 30ft / 9 m or with video)
Sound
=
AutomationZ-Wave Controller (Series 300)
Controls ON/OFF switches, dimmers and open/close sensors.
Z-Wave Controller (Series 500)
=
Video RecordingCloud, only detected events
Free up to 1000 events
=
Notifications
Push (App) Notificationbigtick[1]=
Text/SMS Notificationbigtick[1]=
Email Notificationbigtick[1]=
Phone Notificationbigtick[1]=
FTP Upload516983[1]=
Sensors
Motion sensorbigtick[1]=
Temperature sensorbigtick[1]=
Humidity sensorbigtick[1]=
Light sensorbigtick[1]=
Sound sensorbigtick[1]=
Accelerometer sensorbigtick[1]=
Air Quality sensors516983[1]=
Apps
Android Appbigtick[1] 2.3.3+=
iPhone Appbigtick[1]iOS7+=
Windows App516983[1]=
Web App516983[1]=
Technical
Power SourceWall Adapter=
Power Consumption7.5W=
Battery3x AA as Backup
4-6 hours
=
Wall mountablebigtick[1]=
Wi-Fibigtick[1] 802.11 b/g/n=
LAN516983[1]=
APINot yet, but might come=
Evaluationbookmark[1]bookmark[1]bookmark[1]bookmark[1] 4 / 5bookmark[1]bookmark[1]bookmark[1]bookmark[1]bookmark[1] 5 / 5
Normal Price$199$269
Priceget from $165.4 white

get from $198.51 black
at Amazon


Piper with 2 piece home automation bundles also exist at $299 but honestly this is too expensive for the bundle.
Check our Z-Wave packs (coming soon) for cheaper better Z-Wave options compatible with Piper.
Not yet available

 Always find the lowest prices at Amazon, see the new items link below the product summary, these are brand new products sold at different prices by different sellers, all backed by Amazon:

The King?

Check our indoor cameras comparison article to find out if Piper is really the king of indoors security.

Piper-on-mantle1

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