When I first heard about the Blink security cameras, I was immediately impressed and intrigued. Having tried both the Piper and Canary in my pharmacy, to more or less mitigated results, the Blink seemed like the perfect solution.
Piper (full review) suffers from one major flaw: the camera doesn't turn itself back on after a power failure if the back-up battery is empty (and since we have lots of blackouts here in Lebanon, I got tired of buying new batteries every two or three weeks). It also doesn't have a native scheduled arm/disarm feature; I really shouldn't have to manually arm and disarm my cameras when a simple time-based schedule is easy to implement. Read More
You don't understand the feeling of violation that a theft causes until you open the door to your home and see everything moved, turned, tossed, and the muddy footprints of a stranger everywhere on your floor, your kitchen cabinets open, and even your bedspread removed and balled up in the garden. That happened to my family's mountain house many, many years ago, and I still remember the feeling of disgust over the scene as well as helplessness with all the police procedures that followed. The perpetrators were never caught, just like any minor theft that occurs in Lebanon — they only took small appliances — and we ended up installing gates and locks on all the windows and doors. Read More
Piper's home security and automation unit has been improving year over year. Since my initial review, it has overhauled its app and enhanced many of its features, but it also recently released an IFTTT channel that enabled Amazon Alexa integration and let you schedule and automate a couple of actions.
Now Piper is improving its IFTTT channel with more triggers and actions. You can now control your Piper-connected lights with Alexa, get a tweet when Piper detects smoke via a connected sensor, and set dimmer levels or lights when events are detected while you're away.
The best new recipe though, in my opinion, is the one to upload videos recorded by Piper to Dropbox or Google Drive. Read More
I love crowdfunding projects that work well, especially when the product delivers relatively on time and with most of the features working as promised. Piper's home monitoring / security system is one of these success stories, but despite the product's hardware being great, I have been letdown by its poorly designed software and that didn't change since September 2014 when I first reviewed it. But Piper has been growing up in the meantime, releasing a night vision hardware version, adding Life360 integration, and offering several accessories like sensors and lights, and now it's ready to graduate its software and automation too. Read More
Remember Piper, the crowdfunded home automation tool we featured almost half a year ago? Well the campaign is over and the gadget is on sale now. Once you get yours in the mail, you'll need to set it up and start using it, which is where the official Android app comes in. Piper Mobile is a free download, compatible with all Android devices running Gingerbread or later.
Piper is a little gadget that combines a wide-angle webcam and microphone with a Z-wave controller. The WiFi-connected box allows you to view your home from your phone, pan the camera and listen in to the mic, making it a relatively inexpensive security camera or pet minder. Read More