Piper NV: Great Gets Better

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piper nv

Though we Americans like to talk smack about our upstairs neighbors, Canada has done a lot for our continent and the world at large. The Great White North has given us Rush, Gretzky, and Second City Television, just to name a few of its enduring contributions.

Canada–more specifically Ottawa–is also the home of Russell Ure, co-founder of Blacksumac and the man behind my go-to solution for security and home automation, Piper. After an impressive showing at CES 2014, Blacksumac was acquired by California-connected tech firm iControl Networks, and, at this year’s CES, Russell was back in Vegas–but this was no simple victory lap.

I was fortunate enough to spend a little time with Ure exploring the possibilities of the latest iteration of the Piper hardware, the Piper NV. On the surface, the NV looked nearly identical to the original Piper device–a sleek, modern, unobtrusive design available in black or white and containing a host of environmental sensors. The difference, I was told, was on the inside. Boasting a snappier processor and an improved camera, the NV promised to be more of what I loved about the Piper exactly where it counts.

When a review unit arrived a week or so back, I made short work of integrating it into my home security system. While the initial installation of my original Piper was effortless, I was a little skeptical when it came to adding a second unit. (Multi-Piper support was actually rolled out last summer, around the time of my original review, but this marked my first experience with this expanded feature.) I’m pleased to say that the process was just as simple–if not more so–than my first Piper setup. Within minutes I had prepped my NV and relocated my first-gen Piper to the other side of my home for a more complete self-monitored security solution.

piper dashboard
I love how both Pipers provide thumbnails of their respective camera locations.

While the 180-degree fish-eye view provided by my old Piper was (and still is) impressive, the NV offers a clearer, more precise image, but that’s just the half of it. The Piper NV actually addresses my single complaint about its forebear by adding an exemplary night vision mode.

The NV still uses the same intuitive app, which now offers me two distinct feeds via its Live Video feature, and lets me monitor my home’s vitals, the current status of my Z-Wave door/window sensors and other accessories, and allows me to set and adjust multiple modes governing both Pipers’ alarm and push notification behaviors whether I’m around the house, off at work, or even on an extended vacation.

piper vitals
Note the separate lines on the graph corresponding to my primary and secondary Pipers’ locations.

In short, rather than feeling as if I’d somehow limited my options by throwing my allegiance behind a Piper-centric infrastructure, adding a second Piper really just gave me more control of my security environment and thus an improved sense of wellbeing even when I’m away from home. I loved the original Piper, and if you did too you’ll find the Piper NV to be an even better iteration of your favorite smart hub. And if you’re looking to explore home automation and security, or even just replace a pre-existing system, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give the Piper system a look. It’s a responsive, user-friendly, and scalable solution without the hassles of monthly monitoring fees or fast-talking up-sells. In short, it’s an ideal product for the discriminating GeekDad.

Review materials provided by: iControl Networks

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