Piper isn’t just a video monitor for your home; it’s a total home automation hub and security system as well. Combining a 180-degree high-quality camera with night vision, microphone, and home automation, Piper can alert you to unexpected activity and even turn on your lights or emit a siren automatically. Starting at $199, Piper is an excellent high-tech watchdog.
With a modern design that will fit into almost any living space, Piper seems a perfect fit in my living room. It comes in black or white and features the camera and microphone on the front with a motion sensor below the camera. The rear of the Piper features the power jack as well as the option to wall-mount your Piper. Piper also comes with a nice metal stand if you’d like it to stand on its own, and three AA batteries to keep Piper powered if there is a power outage.
There are two versions of Piper: The Piper classic and the Piper nv. The classic has a 2-megapixel camera without night vision, and a series 300 Z-Wave controller, and retails for $199. The nv has an enhanced 3.4-megapixel camera with night vision, a series 500 Z-Wave controller, and retails for $279. Both versions of Piper have a WiFi connectivity, a microphone, speaker, and 105 db siren as well as motion, temperature, humidity, light, and sound sensors.
The neat thing about Piper is that not only can they provide a live stream of whatever room or rooms you put them in, but they can also turn on or off lights, devices, or switches on-demand, on a timer, or when the Piper is cued by motion, noise, or another cue that you can set. This is done with Z-Wave technology, which is a wireless technology that allows household appliances like lights, switches, or even thermostats to become “smart.” Z-Wave products talk to each other wirelessly to indicate whether they’re on or off, and Z-Wave hubs like Piper can control these products. Piper sent me a GE Outdoor Switch to test with my Piper unit so I could see how Z-Wave functionality enhances the Piper’s use in the home.
Piper’s iOS app takes almost no time to learn and provides a ton of functionality. From the home screen, you can see the indoor temperature and outdoor temperature, or turn on or off your Z-Wave device, and you are one click away from seeing and hearing what your Piper sees and hears. While viewing live video, you can also use your smartphone or tablet to talk through the Piper to whoever is in the room, whether its your wife or your dog. I had a little fun with my wife, scaring her a couple of times using Piper. What’s fantastic about the camera is that it really is a 180-degree view. You can see the entire room using the camera and you’re able to pan around by sliding your finger around the screen.
There are different modes you can set your Piper in, like “stay,” “away,” “vacation,” and “off.” These categories are self-explanatory, but you can set different rules for each mode. So if you’re away on vacation, you can tell Piper to record a video and sound a siren if it sees movement in your house. Or if you’re away at work, you can tell Piper to warn you if the temperature in the room gets above or below a certain threshold. Or, you can tell Piper to turn on your Z-Wave compatible switch, which powers a lamp, when the ambient light in the room gets too low. Cool, huh?
Check out some more screenshot’s of Piper’s iOS app, below:
I’ve been impressed in my experience with Piper and the Z-Wave compatible GE Outdoor Switch. The video quality is better than I expected, and the ability to communicate through Piper is nice, especially if your dog gets lonely. The fact that you can set certain rules for certain modes enhances the functionality of Piper, especially when you factor in the Z-Wave device compatibility. Piper will even give you a 48-hour history of your houses vitals, including indoor temperature, outdoor temperature, humidity, brightness, sound level, and movement levels. Piper is a great way to keep an eye on your house while you’re away. It helped me feel connected to my family, since I was able to see my 13-month daughter playing while I was at work. Keep in mind though, that if you want to keep track of all rooms in your house, you’ll need multiple Pipers and that you’re in charge of your family’s security as there is no central monitoring company that will watch over you.
You can purchase the Piper starting at $199 as well as the Outdoor Switch for $44.95 directly from Piper. You can also check out their other Z-Wave compatible accessories, like door/window sensors, indoor smart switch, smart dimmer, water sensor, micro smart switch, or Z-Wave range extender.
Source: The Piper nv and GE Outdoor Smart Switch were provided to me as a review sample by Piper.
What I Like: Great audio/video quality; Nice design that fits into any living space; Security features and home automation features increase Piper’s functionality.
What Needs Improvement: Piper does not replace typical alarm systems with central monitoring; Piper does not have smoke or fire sensors.