Icontrol Networks has announced a new Piper at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, building on the original all-in-one home security and video monitoring system.
The new model, called Piper nv, introduces a new camera system and night vision to the Piper party, and its creator also told us that the Z-Wave module has twice the performance and range of the original, which began shipping in January last year.
The Piper nv looks the same as the original model, delivering a simple design that is a little larger than some of its competitors on the market, including the BT Smart Cam 100, but it looks good and will blend into the majority of home environments. It's a curved, rectangular device that is finished in a white, glossy plastic and a silver stand so it's very neutral.
The top and bottom of the Piper nv are the shape of a rugby ball and both feature a collection of small holes, similar to the top of the Withings Home, although the holes are smaller on the Withings option. On the front of the Piper nv, there is a fish-eye camera lens surrounded by a new plastic that is said to help with the night vision by diffusing the light so you don't get a beam in the middle and below the camera is a circular sensor.
The 180-degree fish-eye camera has a resolution of 3.4-megapixels and although this is lower than the Withings in terms of resolution, it is wider. The Piper nv has the ability to electronically pan, tilt and zoom, plus it will record 1080p video, like the Withings Home and when we saw it in action, it appeared to work without any lag. What is clever about the Piper nv is that it has a two-minute internal memory, which it then uses to pull in five seconds prior to an event happening to add to the 35-second recording. For example, if the front door is opened and you have set Piper nv to record a video clip when this occurs, it will show you the person coming up to the door and unlocking it and then the front door opening, meaning it shouldn't ever miss an event.
The Piper nv isn't just a camera though, it can also be integrated with Z-Wave accessories, which means you can control things like flood lights and reading lamps from the Piper app. They can be controlled remotely and you can enter a schedule for them like turning them on a certain time each evening when you are away from home to make it look like you're there, or use environmental data to control them. The Piper nv has the ability to detect temperature and humidity, as well as outside temperature by using the weather from your home location and it pulls it all into an easy to read dashboard format.
Security features are also on board the Piper nv with three modes available comprising home, away and vacation. You can customise the settings accordingly but there is a 105-decibel siren that can be set to go off if motion is detected or a loud noise is heard while you are away for example. The app also has a panic mode to turn the siren on, which we were told would be used in a circumstance where you saw a person in your house when you open the live video feed for example. We were given a demo of the siren at MWC and we certainly wouldn't be hanging about if it went off anywhere near us.
The app is lovely and easy to use, with good navigation and there are tonnes of features and settings. You can customise your alerts from phone calls, text messages, emails and push notifications to telling Piper to alert your "Trusted Circle" if security rules are triggered. Up to five Piper's can be installed in one house and they have batteries on board in case of a power cut.
The Piper nv has no monthly fees, like the original model and any recorded video will be encrypted and stored on the cloud. It offers you the capacity to store up to 1000 of the 35-second clips but if you delete any, we were assured it would then disappear from the cloud too.
We were really impressed by the Piper nv during our short amount of time with it. The app is lovely and the device seems to work well. We have seen a couple of these smart home camera systems in the past but the Piper nv looks like a promising step above some of its competitors.