"Connected home" gadgets are all about giving you greater awareness and control over what's happening in your crib. Most "internet of things" products for the home at targeted to specific uses, such as remote surveillance or heating control. Piper is slightly different, in that it attempts to tie all types home automation and security together into the one control centre. The device initially launched on Indiegogo where it achieved its funding goal three times over. Now, almost a year later, it's ready for a European retail release.
The Piper hub itself plays host to a 1080p camera with a fish-eye lens for home monitoring, and various sensors that keep track of motion, temperature, humidity and light. It also packs a microphone, a 105-decibel siren, and a loudspeaker through which you can broadcast your voice remotely over Piper's companion mobile apps. With a focus on security and environmental observation, the main hub can be one of up to five per home. What makes Piper way more useful than the individual product alone, though, is that it communicates with all manner of other sensors and peripherals using the Z-Wave wireless standard.
These can be anything from other security-focused accessories, like door sensors and locks, to lighting, power and heating controllers. The brain itself connects to the internet via WiFi and all of its functions, including those of the Z-Wave devices, are controlled via Piper's Android and iOS apps. Furthermore, you can view live footage and recorded clips from the camera, talk to any current visitors and view long-term records from any of the on-board or paired sensors, among other things. In addition to pushing notifications to your smartphone based on trigger criteria you've created, you can also set up scheduled events and more complicated rules like "turn living room lights on if motion is detected."
The idea is that Piper is both a standalone device with various uses and a platform for you to realise all kinds of home automation and security scenarios. There are plenty of Z-Wave devices around to make them happen, and the hub itself will be available online from July 15th for £119 in the UK or 146 euros elsewhere per Piper (no subscription fees thereafter).