UPDATE! The Piper Camera is EOL.
Security cameras serve as unblinking eyes for our home, watching over things that matter day and night. However, cameras are no longer just a way to see what's going on around us. They now have enhanced abilities. Some have extra senses, like Canary, a camera that can measure your indoor air quality. Others improve home security by befriending other devices, like Nest Cam via Works with Nest. And there are those with supersonic hearing, like Cocoon.
Cocoon is the product of a successful IndieGoGo campaign. What makes it so unique is its enhanced hearing ability, a.k.a. SubSound(™). Cocoon can hear beyond the normal hearing range of a human. It utilizes this unique ability to improve your home's security.
But the real question isn't, "What can it do?", but rather, "How does it fare when facing security camera brands we already trust?" Answering this question helps us determine whether Cocoon is worth having or not. Today, we'll compare Cocoon to Piper NV.
Round 1: The Eyes
The primary function of a security camera is to watch your home. A security camera has to offer good video quality, night vision, and a decent way of letting you watch videos. Both Piper NV and Cocoon offer all of that. Piper offers enhanced HD video quality, with a 180⁰ wide angle field of view, and night vision. Piper also offers digital pan, tilt, and zoom. The camera doesn't move mechanically, but you can zoom in on your footage using the mobile app. Cocoon, on the other hand, offers a 1080p resolution, 120° wide angle field of view, and night vision backed by eight IR LEDs. Cocoon also offers digital zoom capabilities.
WINNER: Piper wins thanks to its wider viewing angle and enhanced HD resolution.
Round 2: The Ears
Listening is something offered by some security cameras but not all. In the past listening meant that the camera would record audio along with video. Now, this feature has evolved to include sound sensors. Sound sensors notice unusual sounds and will notify you if something strange is detected.
How good are Piper NV and Cocoon at identifying unusual sounds?
Piper has a typical sound sensor. Its sensor detects sounds that are too loud, like shattering glass, banging, or the thud of a fallen object. Those sounds can mean that someone’s breaking in or has broken into your home.
Cocoon’s sound sensor works similarly but with SubSound™ Technology. SubSound, otherwise known as infrasound, is based on the infrared light of sounds. This type of sound is undetectable by human ear, which can only hear sounds within the 20Hz to 20,000Hz range. Infrasound sounds are sounds below 20Hz. With Cocoon’s ability to listen to infrasound, it can monitor not only one room but multiple rooms, even multiple floors.
To put that into perspective, imagine that your home is underwater. Every movement made creates ripples in the water. Sound works the same way. Every movement creates ripples that exist in the airwaves. We cannot hear them, but Cocoon can. These ripples travel a long distance, from one room to another, sometimes even from a different floor. This ability makes Cocoon stand out.
WINNER: Cocoon's SubSound™ takes the cake.
Round 3: Sensors
Piper is packed with different sensors. Along with its sound sensor, it has a humidity, temperature, light, and motion sensor. All of which contribute to Piper’s ability to protect your home and even perform home automation tasks. It is truly an all-in-one security camera. Can Cocoon top that? Nope. Cocoon has a superior sound sensor, and it has motion sensor, but that’s it.
Of course, there's more to it than the quantity or even type of sensors a camera has. Sensors can become annoying when they start sending false alarms. Most sensors don't know the difference between a burglar and your pet. Cocoon is a smart camera that learns. Over time it can learn what’s normal in your house and what’s not. You may get annoying false alarms at first, but as Cocoon starts observing your lifestyle, alerts improve. Its geofencing feature also helps improve alerts. For example, if SubSound™ senses movement in your bedroom while you’re home, it will assume it's you.
WINNER: Piper. Though Cocoon can learn and has a better sound sensor, Piper offers more sensors including a Z-Wave module and IFTTT support for home automation.
Round 4: Software Behavior
Both cameras come with an iOS and Android app.
Piper's app handles notifications, rule-creation, live streaming, and event history. It also controls most of Piper's features.
Cocoon's app, on the other hand, handles live viewing, responding to alerts (trigger the siren or ignore), geofencing, video archives, and your activity timeline.
Final Round: Price
for several reasons, Piper NV is still our winner.
One, it's time-tested.
Two, Piper plays with other home automation brands through IFTTT. Cocoon is hinting at its own IFTTT integration, but that probably won't happen until the end of this year.
Three, Piper can connect with Z-Wave door/window and motion sensors. Using door/window sensors and motion sensors is going to be more reliable than Cocoon's SubSound feature.
5/13/2017 Updated with the latest information on both products.