1
Positives
  • simple and intuitive app
  • fast and easy setup
  • sharp HD 180° fisheye lens
  • All-in-one device - start immediately
  • expandable through Z-Wave sensors & actuators
  • reliable notification and alerting
  • Negatives
  • start the app + connection takes a long time
  • Presence / absence mode must be set manually
  • long response times
  • no infrared night vision - “only” residual light intensifier
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    Piper is ideal for everyone who has been thinking about buying an IP camera or a security solution. Piper is easy to set up and always allowed a glance via App into home. Happened something unusual, you will be notified immediately.

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    Piper is much more than just a 180° fisheye camera – Piper is an All-in-one Smart Home Gateway with integrated sensors.

    Who just think about it, to install a wireless IP camera to look up every now and then if at home is everything alright, or has even ever taken the idea of an alarm system – could soon belong to us Smart Homies. – Because that’s Piper.

    A Smart Home Office which has the Z-Wave radio system and in addition to the 180° fisheye camera with two way audio, that also features 105dB loud siren inside the following sensors:

    • motion detector
    • temperature sensor
    • humidity sensor
    • brightness sensor

    Through the built-in microphone of the two way audio system, Piper can also react to noises in the apartment. You can always take a look at the apartment at home and will be immediately alerted if detected during the absence of movement or noise on the smartphone app. Depending on the setting, the rough loud 105dB can be triggered. If the power is cut off, Piper continues with 3x AA batteries.

    In short: Piper is a small all-in-one alarm system, which can be extended by additional Z-Wave components such as door/window contacts, motion detectors, adapter plugs, wall switches, remote controls, and so on.

    Unboxing & Installation

    But now from the beginning. In September 2013 Piper was, like many other great Smart Home ideas, also financed as crowdfunding on indiegogo At that time thought so many people at Piper, which has reached this project more than $ 300,000, instead of only $ 100,000 were needed.

    Let’s take a look more closely at Piper. Included with Piper, we found next to the power supply and the neccessary 4x AA batteries for the backup mode, as well as the foot and a wall bracket, and a Quick Start Guide.

    The installation is straight forward. Piper is controlled via app and also be configured via app. A web interface to access via a laptop or PC to Piper don’t exists.

    First you download the Piper app from your app store. On delivery Piper acts as standalone WLAN hotspot – so you can connect directly to Piper via smartphone. Now the app shows you all reachable WLAN networks. Choose from your wireless network here, this connects with Piper. After entering the wireless password, Piper connects to your home network. Then you need a Piper account, which you can have for free. In addition to your email address and your desired password no further data is required.

    After that, it can already go directly.

    [app url=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/piper-mobile/id741005248?mt=8″]

    The app

    First let’s take a look of all the numerous setting options. About the dashboard you will reach via the icon in the upper right (two gears) directly in the settingsof the Piper app. In the “Piper Options” you can vary, for example, the sensitivity of the motion detector. Very handy if you have a pet. In addition to the temperatur display, whether it is displayed in °C or Fahrenheit, you can enable or disable this very well delay the siren. (I hade made time for testing because the 105dB siren is violently loud). In the settings you can activate, that you will be informed as soon as Piper was disconnected from the internet, so the Piper cloud. This is done through a so-called heartbeat process. The Server pings Piper on a regular basis. Piper responds not, you will be informed immediately.

    In addition, you can define a “Trusted Circle”. So contacts should be notified in case of an alarm which also via e-mail, push or call in the settings can be set. Next to the video settings, where you can define separately the image quality of the stream in the WLAN and the 3G network, you’ll find also the “Multi Piper Management”. Interesting for all those, who want to monitor serveral rooms.

    Security

    In the dashboard of the app you can turn sharply by clicking the alarm. There are several modes.

    • Stay
    • Away
    • Vacation
    • Notify Only
    Piper App - Dashboard

    Piper App – Dashboard

    A strongly electronically female sounding computer voice confirms the activation of the mode. Unfortunately you always have to manually activate the mode, so open the app and for example enable the mode “Away”. This is very annoying in everyday life and is often forgotten. It would be nice if the developers have resorted back here to the geofencing data of smartphone or you could define at least fixed times when you are absent.

    Each mode allows you to define different rules in the tab “Rules” of the app. This is what would happen then:

    • Motion detected
    • Noises were detected
    • The temperature changes

    Any further Z-Wave sensor, that is connected, such as a motion detectors or window/door contact is then also a trigger for which you can specify what should happen if…

    Piper App - Rules

    Piper App – Rules

    So you can activate the siren, record a video from the camera, let you either an email or push notification. You can also simply turn on the light on via Z-Wave associated relays or intermediate connector.

    Connect Z-Wave devices

    Sensors and actuators as just described to be able to use in the Rules, you need to connect them to Piper first. You can also do this in the app at the menu-item “Settings” -> Z-Wave Accessoires. Here you can readjust components and also delete them. Clicking Piper is in teach mode, after you have added the Z-Wave component in the learning mode. This is detected quickly by Piper. Now you only have to assign a name of your choise – ready.

    So you connect sensors such as door-window contacts, motion, or even relay and adapter plug. Because Piper is fully adapted to the alarm area, unfortunately, not all Z-Wave components such as thermostats or temperature sensors can be trained. In addition, we had in the test to learn of some Multisensors, like the Philio 4-in-1 Sensor. Although this could be connected and we were able to give a name, but he simply could not be used in the Rules. Therefore we provide a compatibility list of all successfully tested Z-Wave devices for Piper at the end. If you have a Piper in use, post your Z-Wave components in the comments below.

    Piper App - Control

    Piper App – Control

    The taught-cause actuators can be operate remotely via app. In our test period, , the switching times, for example the time from click in the app through the relay that was connected, were very long. The command will not be sent locally to Piper from the smartphone, but from within the app at the Piper cloud – and from there to the Piper. This sends the command then via Z-Wave to the relay or radio outlet. The delay may therefore be caused by the Piper Server. – Ugly.

    Home automation

    In the tab “Controls” of Piper app you can also create small automations. Here you all connected actuators are listed, such as sockets, relay or switch. With a tip of the actuator, you can define automation. When trigger are timing, temperatur and brightness are available.

    Timing:

    • Here you can define when the outlet or the relay turned on and when want to turn off again. Two inputs and two switch-off times are possible.

    Temperature control

    • In the Piper app you first define whether a heater or an air conditioner to be controlled. After that the target temperature. If a heater is controlled, so the socket and switch on the relay when falling below the temperature is turned on, you have defined previously, is to be controlled an air conditioner, Piper turns the outlet when the defined target temperature is exceeded.

    Brightness control

    • Here, the lights over the relay or a lamp which can be switched depending on a switch socket once it is dark in the room. You also can defined by how many hours the lights will be switched off again.

    Through this application-oriented automation, the Piper app comes completely without IF – THEN rules, and without the user having to create logical links. This makes things very easy and intuitive to use.

    Home Vitals – here’s how your home

    The integrated sensors for motion, brightness and temperature – and also the microphone of the two-way audio camera, record your measurement data on a regular basis. In the tab “Vitals” the Piper app you see graphically the respective trajectories (besser: progress curve) of the past 48 hours. So you see when a certain noise level was present and how does the heating curve. The humidity is recorded. Very nice for a general overview – unfortunately, the data can not evaluate in detail and also do not export. Data can not ne evaluated in detail or exported.

    Piper App - Vitals

    Piper App – Vitals

    180° fisheye camera – Piper’s eye

    Of course you can look at the camera picture of Piper at any time via app live. With a swipe to the right, left, up or down, you can look in all corners of 180° fisheye HD image. Alternatively, you can have it next to each other and focus in each image a different place the image in four blocks.

    About the smartphone microphone you can talk in the room. The sound is reproduced through the speakers of Piper. In the test, this has initially worked well. Unfortunately not often after that. It seemed their services crashed sometimes. However, the camera delivers great pictures. In Case of an alarm can also record a 40 seconds stream from the camera. This is stored in the cloud Piper. Should it be the time of disconnection saves Piper the recording locally and synchronize these with the cloud Piper once again, when there is a connection to the internet.

    Piper App - Livebild

    Piper App – Livestream

    The model we testet has no infrared night vision mode. This works with an image intensifier. The new model, NV Piper already has a night vision mode.

    Summary:

    Piper is the ideal introduction to the Smart Home for all those who want to put on safety. Here Piper is much more versatile than a pure wireless IP camera and to set up a lot easier. To see if everything is okay at home, can always be accessed via app on the camera image, without having to configure any port forwarding or previously DynDNS account. In addition, it is very easy to create rules to be notified when home is unusual movement. This also immediately a video stream is recorded. But not only for the case of burglary Piper is suitable. So you simply can also be notified if the offspring have arrived after school at home, if you’re still sitting at work. With the Multi Piper Management you can monitor several rooms with more than one Piper. Z-Wave sensors and actuators expand the all-in-one concept of Piper and let this become a versatile alarm.

    Unfortunately, Piper does not replace a full-fledged smart home gateway. So you can not see heating thermostats or similar. By teach of sockets and / or relay but a control of heaters or air conditioners is possible. The lighting control was considered. We really liked how easy it is to create small automations. But the long switching times are a no-go!

    Piper comes in white and also black with its about 200 euros (RRP) due to the high quality camera and its many additional functions, and the possibility of expandability through Z-Wave sensors and actuatos definitely recommeded.

    Supported Z-Wave devices:

    About The Author
    crissxcross
    Hi, I'm crissxcross, qualified IT system electronics. Professionally, I work as a product marketing manager in the Smart Home. And private I am self a Smart Homie :-) If I do not sit in front of the monitor like I photograph and am a big fan of Apple. I am the founder of the SiiO.de blog.
    • reto
      28. July 2016 at 16:52

      hi crissxcross. Is it possible to READ the Piper Sensors over Z-Wave (from a Fibaro Center) OR is it a one direction Connection that Piper only can READ other sensors via Z-Wave?

      thanks

      Reto

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