Product: iControl Networks Piper Review
Where to buy: Amazon.com – Click here for the latest price
Great for: Inside your home
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Built-in Peace in a Device
Home security is an essential part of ensuring a safe and comfortable domestic life; when you know your valuables are protected, your children are secure and your house is covered, it is easier for you to spend time at work, on your errands, out on a date or just in your kitchen, prepping the meal while the baby plays. Knowing you have a viable security system, that keeps an eye on everything, brings you peace of mind.
Introducing: iControl Networks Piper
When we have reviewed different security systems out there in the market, one that particularly stood out and caught our eye, was the all-in-one security device by iControl Networks. There are many things that can be said for this easy-to-use, versatile security camera which goes by the name of ‘Piper’.
The Piper is a wireless camera which communicates with you through an app on your mobile. This allows you to keep an eye on your surroundings, receive alerts and set up preferences for the device. The app also lets you communicate with Piper to automate your home! Let us take you on an unboxing tour of iControl Networks Piper Classic & Piper NV.
Unboxing the Product
The iControl Networks Piper comes as a 5.5 inch tall stand-alone camera, that requires no holes, cables or other assortments to set up. The sleek plastic body is doled out in two colors; pearly white and deep black. You can easily place the camera on your book shelves, table, mantle pieces or any other surface –and if you would rather wall mount, well that option is available as well.
While the camera may seem bigger than its competitors, the ease of setting up and the absence of cables makes it a desirable choice –once placed on that surface, you would hardly notice it keeping ‘eye’.
Now let’s get down to the point; Piper is just as noticeable in its specifications. The following is what you can expect it to do for you:
- The Wide Eye: The camera has an immersive, wide angle 180 degree view that lets you take in the surroundings with a panoramic nature. This makes it easy for you to keep an eye on your whole range of motion and detect, for example, what mischief your pet has been up to. And oh, spotted that little stain on the carpet? Want to investigate upclose what it is? Well then, pan, tilt and zoom away! Quad-view is also available. The Piper Classic comes with a 2 megapixel camera, while the Piper Nv is beefed up to a 3.4 megapixel.
- Night Vision: This feature is an add-on of the Piper Nv series, therefore you will not find it in the Piper Classic. The night vision is pretty good, ensuring you are covered in the dark as well or when lights are out.
- Motion & Sound Detection: This sophisticated feature ensures no one slips out the door unnoticed. The device can be programmed to send you alerts for loud noises, and new entries through the door way. Were your parents here while you were away? Let the Piper send you a voice mail or drop in a phone call! And oh, let’s not forget to say hello with the two-way microphone!
- Two-Way Microphone: The two-way microphone lets you communicate with anyone present while you watch over them. This is an amazing feature which lets you be home, while away as well!
- 105db siren: Your motion and sound detection can also be set to the sound the alarm. The 105db siren is loud enough to get your attention, and once it starts, it’s a bit difficult to stop. This is why we suggest you should set your preferences to text alerts or calls for most of the disturbances which may not be that significant.
- Video Recording Play Backs: So you’ve already realized you can keep an eye on your house and talk to people and pets with the use of this camera. However did you know you can also record eventful moments or footages of disturbances that may have set off the siren? This helps you customize further as well.
- Varied Sensors: The sensors can detect changes in motion, temperature, humidity, light and sound. And the wireless Z-wave controller lets you communicate with the devices at home to automate your home. What does this look like? Well, imagine for example, stepping up inside your house and having the lights switched on instantly –the motion sensor detects your movement, detects lack of light, communicates to the lighting appliances at your home, and viola!
- Wireless coverage with Z-Wave Controller: The device is wireless, removing the hassle of cables, and allowing your camera to communicate with you over the mobile, as well as with other home appliances and set ups.
- Built-in Security Modes: The device comes with easy to use, customizable security modes. The modes are home, away and vacation. You can set up the modes according to your requirements. The Piper will notify you according to your settings, using either push notifications, text messages, email or phone call. Setting up these preferences and rules is very easy. For example, when we tried, we first set up Piper to automatically record a video and send a notification in case of a change in noise, temperature or motion, if I were away, but to only notify me if the temperature fell down below 60 Degrees when I was back at home.
- Power Details: The device comes with an AC power cord that lets you charge it up, however we feel the power cord is a bit small. You can also put in batteries for back up, for when power runs out when you are away. That said, the battery is long lasting and sound.
The versatile nature of iControl Networks Piper lets you use it in a variety of situations –now it is up to you to be creative with it. Some of the uses we can suggest, and the ones we liked as well, are listed below. Of course the list is not exhaustive; get going with your Piper however you want!
- Home Automation: By adding other wireless accessories, your house can be made comfortable in terms of temperature, lighting and humidity according to how you want. So when you know the kids are going to be home soon, and you are away, you can tell Piper to put on the heater beforehand and make the living room comfortable. Similarly, your kid wakes up at night for a drink of water? Remind Piper to detect the movement and switch on the light for her so she does not fall off the stairs!
- Interaction with Family & Pets on the Go: If you’re away from home a lot, this is a perfect way to keep in touch and keep sharing in the family moments. Say hello when the kids come home, tell your cat to jump down away from your precious crystal vases, and communicate with the UPS guy who dropped by for repairs while you were away. We are in love with this two-way communication.
- Security: Piper can detect when everyone has left the house, so it starts keeping watch intently. Even at home, you can program it to keep a certain degree of watch on your valuables and boundaries. You can make a network of up-to 5 Pipers to keep watch in different parts of the house. We think this makes it perfect for use in stores or businesses after you lock up. Similarly, you can also keep an eye on your employees and see when they clocked in and clocked out.
- Energy Efficiency: The home automation feature also helps you save and conserve energy; no more left-on lights!
All in all, the Piper device offers you the following benefits:
- HD Camera Quality with Zoom, Pan & Tilt Views
- No monthly fee or contracts required. You just set up the device and are good to go.
- Cloud Storage to store up to a 100 Piper videos.
- Connects with a variety of devices; smartphone, tablet, iPad etc.
- Communicates with Z-accessories to allow home automation and more versatile use.
- Sharp and precise Night vision.
- Communicates over Wi-Fi
- The app is easy to use.
- Two-way audio.
And if you are looking for the cons, these are some of the things we figured out:
- No local storage is available, you can only store videos on the cloud storage.
- The Piper can only be connected through a mobile app, there is no web-based app available.
- The camera sometimes has difficulty connecting to the app, particularly if you have recently closed the app. This is usually resolved by restarting the Wi-Fi, and does not happen a lot.
- Streaming video using the mobile data causes choppiness, if the video is set to high quality.
- The bandwidth usage is high even with video quality set on a default of 75%.
As of now, the price of Piper ranges from $ 155 to $ 240 depending on the series and add-ons you get. Piper Nv, is obviously set on a higher price than Piper Classic. However for the features, the price is worth paying for.
The company offers a 30-day return period, starting from the time of purchase. If there are any defects in the product or if you do not like it, you will be refunded. However, the customer service staff is out for help to fix out any problems for you, and help you keep the product. The warranty period, on the other hand, is a typical one-year period.
The Piper may seem like a splurge at the start, but all in all it provides a pretty good solution for home security and home automation rolled into one. Therefore, we would definitely suggest it! There are exciting features, room for customization and extended use through the Z-Waves, which make the device a good buy, which will facilitate you over a range of things.
Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions about the iControl Networks Piper, I’ll be more than happy to help.
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