UPDATE! The Piper Camera is EOL.
The Piper NV is an indoor camera that we have classified as a lifestyle camera. While it is a security camera, it is also a flurry of sensors, and capable of controlling other home automation devices. Piper held the top spot as number one recommended home security camera for well over a year and it's still a good camera, though no longer number one.
- Quality Night Vision
- Phone Call Alerts
- A Little Buggy
- Fish Eye Lens Distorts Video
Piper nv Design and Setup
The Piper nv is offered in black or white. It records in HD 1920x1080, offers night vision, pans, tilts, and digitally zooms. The camera has a 180 degree field of view so it can capture large areas as needed. It can detect motion and sound and is backed by two-way audio.
Beyond being a camera, the Piper NV is a lifestyle system. Packed with a Z-Wave radio for limited home automation control and sensors for temperature, light, sound and humidity, it's surprisingly versatile.
The setup process seems like child’s play compared to hiring someone to drill holes in your home to place sensors. If you know what you’re doing, you can get the job done in under ten minutes. All you need to do is remove the aluminum stand, place the batteries into the unit and connect it to the power cable. After you’ve done so, put the stand back on and press the button on the back to power on the device. Next, download the app and wait for the LED light to turn blue. Open the app (Android or iOS) and follow the instructions to create an account and allow the app to guide you through the rest of the setup process including connecting Piper to your Wi-Fi network. After Piper is linked to your network, it will check for firmware updates automatically to keep you safe. BAM! You're done.
Piper NV to Enhance Home Security
As a single unit, you may doubt Piper’s ability to protect your home, but it is one of the most capable cameras we've seen in terms of home security ability. Here's why...
- Piper can monitor for temperature changes.
- Piper has motion sensors.
- Piper can connect to other sensors to protect your home.
- Piper’s camera comes with a built-in 105 dB siren.
- It has two-way audio.
- You can set up phone call alerts, which are way more effective than push notifications.
- Battery Backup
- The app can support up to five different Pipers (nv or original) at once. For whole home protection.
In addition, to all of these fabulous reasons, there are other features you will discover as you start to use the Piper NV. One trick... if you put Piper into "bedside mode", you can manually trigger an alarm event from your phone. The event will sound the alarm and Piper will record a short video.
From a privacy perspective, Piper NV will only communicate with the mobile app on your cell and the cloud over SSL, so you don’t have to worry about someone else accessing your videos. So far, there have been no horror stories of Piper users being spied on. All data is encrypted to improve security.
Piper Software Behavior
Piper offers an app for both iOS and Android. The app can send alerts by text message, email, and phone when different events are triggered. The app allows you to monitor the camera, stream live video, and check stored videos. You can also use the app to pan, tilt, and zoom within the camera's field of view.
Through the app, you can manage rules for the camera. You can set up modes like home, work, or
vacation mode. For example, you could set a rule to be notified by phone call in “away mode” when the motion detector is triggered.
Finally, Piper's app will also keep you abreast of indoor and outdoor temperatures and recent events via the “status” bar. It has graphs that track physical activity over a 48-hour period including indoor temp, outdoor temp, ambient sound, light, and humidity.
Piper offers cloud-based storage for videos though it does not upload recorded videos to the cloud by default. Instead, it streams videos over a peer-to-peer connection with your cellphone, and this has its advantages.
- No monthly fee.
- More privacy.
Videos will only stream when you select “Live Video” from the app or when triggered by one of the rules you’ve set up. This means that Piper is not “always on.”
Piper automatically records 25-second video clips for events. It will record five seconds before an event is triggered and 20 seconds after. You can store up to 1,000 of these 25-second video clips after which you will need to erase them to make room for new videos. You’ll be able to watch stored clips as many times as you wish and via Clip Saving, you can download an unlimited amount of video clips to your phone's gallery.
The Piper nv sells for $269. You can upgrade to the Z-Wave Pack for $399.99 which includes the Piper nv and your choice of three Z-Wave accessories. You can choose from a door/window sensor, smart switch, smart dimmer, micro smart switch, water sensor, motion sensor, or a range extender. They have also announced that they are adding an automated door lock and a compatible smoke sensor. Of course, you can always add more devices as time goes on and you grow your system.
If the compatible devices don't seem like enough, you can connect Piper through IFTTT. IFTTT is a free web-based app that sews the internet together. It operates using channels and recipes. Channels are specific to devices or web-based services, and recipes sew together two devices to create a cause and effect relationship. For example, if Scout Alarm's siren sounds then Piper's siren should sound. Or, if motion is detected, record event to your Google Drive.
Finally, Piper is an AllJoyn certified device. Through this program, it can connect to even more devices, as if it needed to. The camera will be able to send event alarms and notifications to other AllJoyn certified devices. This list includes LIFX light bulbs, the Musick audio system, and even LG TVs. Yes, with Piper, you can have an alarm event scroll across your TV.
A Quick Summary
Piper is a great unit to add to your home if you are looking for a way to keep an eye out for intruders and keep your pets in check at the same time. It’s not just a home security camera. It gives you complete freedom to add Z-Wave compatible devices to your system so that you can monitor your entire home. All in all, we have witnessed many improvements thus far and we can only expect more to come in the future.