For the last few years, the tech world has been offering up cameras to assist or complement commercial home security systems. At first, cameras were only available to those who used security companies such as ADT – for an additional cost plus monthly fee for monitoring, of course.
What many people don’t know – and sales people won’t tell you even if they know – is that no alarm monitor service (including ADT) is allowed to call the police until you have verified that the alarm is actually an intrusion. That, in other words, means that you have to go home or have a neighbor or friend actually visit your property and verify that someone has broken into it! (That would be some good friend!)
Then, a couple years ago, Google developed the DropCam as a means of letting homeowners tune into their home and see if someone was there without leaving their job or putting a neighbor’s life in jeopardy.
What Nest’s DropCam didn’t probably think of is how renters would react if they found the best surveillance cameras may not cover for everything.
Well, Icontrol was right on the heels of Nest’s solution and came out with their own version, calling it Piper. Of course, Piper had a different look and offered better quality but at the end of the day, it was nothing different.
Now, Piper has graduated and early last year introduced Piper NV. (NV, the company says, stands for both New Version and Night Vision.)
Over the past year, Piper has come up with some major upgrades. The company just announced that 2016 is bringing even bigger and better accessories to the NV!
The first three are: smoke sensors, door locks and newer, better motion sensors. All of these are controlled through the free … FREE … Piper App that you can download from Google Play.
Additionally, IFTTT is now integrated into the system as of the first of this year.
Piper’s camera resolution is 1080 pixels with 3.4 mp. However, Piper also upgrades their technology at the headquarters and automatically sends the newest upgrade out to your system.
Since camera quality is a two-stage event … on the front end, the quantity of pixels and on the backend, the interpretation of the pixels … the upgrades at headquarters allows for more accurate dissemination of the information transmitted.
Piper NV is designed exclusively for indoor use. So, if you need an outdoor camera set-up, this is not the device that will work for you. Piper NV has been voted as the best home security camera system by several reviewers.
In the end, money saved is money earned.
The physical body of the camera is static. However, through the free app, the view can be manipulated easily to do all of these things. No one will know the operating angles of the camera, which gives you the advantage over those who should not be in the house in the first place.
Finally, Piper NV has live stream incorporated into its programming—including night vision with respectable quality. (The quality of night vision is improving month by month as the programs are tweaked at headquarters.)
Night Vision in the 4 modes to tilt, pan, and zoom
The IR LEDs – or infrared light-emitting diode – sends out wavelengths of light that are longer than normal daylight.
Your eye won’t detect the difference but the camera will. The more IR LEDs are contained in the module, the better ability the camera has to utilize the light and pick up images accurately.
What makes Piper NV one of the best home security cameras on the market? Their two-way audio is one of the best features ever incorporated in a camera. Combine that with the up scaled transmission features and you have solid sound quality.
Imagine that you get an alert on your phone and tune into the camera to find two unknown people in the house. Not only can you hear what they are saying in real time, you can record the images and their chatter at the same time! Talk about great evidence for a court!
Of course, you can always scare the crap out of them and yell at them for being in your house! Or, for fun, use a ghostly-type voice – like speaking from the grave style – and haunt them with woooo’s and low-level grrrrrrrr’s.
Then, there are those times when you cannot be home and the kids come in from school and you can ask them about their day and remind them to do their homework or grab a snack before doing anything else. (Snacks re-energizes the brain after a hard day of math at school.)
For those who have a parent or grandparent living alone, you can put a Piper NV in their home and if you don’t hear from them or if you get an alert, tune in and make sure they are all right.
Great for peace of mind.
Putting one of these cameras in the baby’s or toddlers room … or better yet, your teenager’s room … lets you hear what is going on any time you want to make sure they are staying out of trouble, or if to keep your kids from escaping out the window to meet a friend when they’re supposed to be sleeping.
Piper NV is one of the very best surveillance cameras that has an actual alarm which triggers in three different ways:
And, the only way to stop the alarm from sounding at an ear-piercing level bound to drive your animals into hiding and getting phone calls from sleeping neighbors is to remove the batteries – which takes a screw driver!
Most cameras for home security – including those from commercial companies – don’t have a backup battery that will continue to operate the cameras if there is a power disruption.
Piper NV’s camera does, though and it works for up to 8 hours on the battery. While you won’t be able to see what is happening in the home if the power is off, once the power is back on the camera automatically uploads all that was recorded during the outage.
Almost all of the best home security cameras have Cloud storage— either incorporated or as an option. Cloud allows cameras to store what is being recorded on a remote location where it can be accessed anytime with the correct password.
It also allows manufacturers to update the camera system without the owner having to login and download anything.
Most companies charge a monthly fee – usually around $5.00 per camera – for Cloud storage. Piper NV includes Cloud for all your cameras absolutely free – and always has.
You can save the images and recordings to your phone and then upload it to your computer to clear the data from your phone.
You need to have a broadband connection and an electrical outlet to get up and running.
By the way, it takes about 2-minutes – literally – to set it up and another minute or so to set up the Z-Wave and automatic control apps. The entire process is done through the free app.
If you’ve ever had a commercial company’s home security system, then you probably already know that the motion sensors are extremely sensitive. And, Icontrol’s Piper NV is no different.
However, Piper lets you set the sensors according to the weight of your pet so that you don’t get notified every time your pet walks through the room or jumps on the chair.
According to Piper’s tech team, movement is detected by body heat which is why we put the two categories together. But, since it is Z-wave connected it will also monitor other temperature changes in each room where it is installed.
Icontrol is releasing smoke detectors and responsive door locks operated through the IFTTT integrated system that is coming online this year. What is even more impressive is that instead of using Z-wave that is compatible with only specific brand names, Piper will be compatible with any makers smart-sensor according to the category, instead of the manufacturer.
This allows you to purchase non-brand sensors and save some money!
You begin with this screen found in the free Piper app. Each option – Stay, Away and Vacation – can be individually set to react in a different way.
You can set them all at one time and until they are reset, they will respond accordingly. For family members that are tech-impaired, you can do all the settings at once and have all notifications sent to you.
Unlike many comparable home security systems – whether commercial or home owner systems – Piper allows you to set as many or as few ways to be notified when something changes.
Each type of action has its own screen so you can tell Piper to notify you by text for motion and phone call for fire. By entering a family member’s information into your system, you can tell Piper to notify them as well.
This is especially good if you set up a Piper in the home of a family member that has limited abilities and you tell Piper to notify you.
According to one verified purchaser:
By now, you’ve probably guessed that we are very impressed with the Piper NV.
However, there are a few things that are still lacking in this device.
Piper is for indoor use exclusively. However, if you have a window that faces to an area where you would like to have an outdoor camera, you can put Piper on a window sill and point it in that direction.
It will not completely replace an outdoor camera but it will help.
Piper is designed to work only with Android and an iOS system. If you have a Mac, you’re out of luck right now.
There is no way to turn the alarm off remotely so most owners prefer not to have the alarm go off automatically while they are away. The only way to disarm the alarm is to remove the batteries located in its own casing inside the back panel.
Piper has no web portal so you must access all information from your smartphone. For those with older models, you may need to upgrade your phone first.
Piper NV comes close to replacing a commercial security system and would be our number one choice for Best Home Security Camera among those we reviewed.