Piper Update – #3 – Z-Wave Accessories

Hello all,

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend?  My first at home for a while where I have no outside obligations.  Very nice!  This means a few blogs this weekend!  But this one is about using Z-Wave accessories with Piper.  I have written about Piper before (here, here and here) but the fact is I like it.  It is a security device that provides more information, like temperatures (inside and outside), and noise and light info.  I am hopeful soon we will have an update to either the actual Piper software, or the control app that will allow us to control more than one.  Z-Wave is a home automation standard that Piper works with.  This can add quite a lot more to your home security and in fact provide some home automation – like turning on lights.  When I bought Piper it was in the early days and I got three Z-Wave accessories with it – a Smart Switch, and two Door / Window sensors.

I got one of each going today and it was interesting.  Not hard, and once they were working I saw what Piper can do with them.  There was a nice card in the box that helps you get the Z-Wave devices working and it was quite helpful.

So you see this in the Dashboard (note the info on Light and Safe Door).

Dashboard with two Z-Wave devices.

Dashboard with two Z-Wave devices.

There is one security mode that is called Notify Only which means there is no security enabled, but it just notifies you if things occur.  It knows that one of my Z-Wave devices is a door sensor, and so it lets me be notified if the safe door opens.

If the Safe Door opens...
If the Safe Door opens…

As well, in the security modes you have a lot more options on what to do if that Safe Door opens.  Below is an example in the Stay mode – which means you want some security while you are at home.

Security Rule Stay
Security Rule Stay

Of course you have these options for any of the security modes.

So for a home security device, Piper does pretty good.  It can add to that security by monitoring doors or windows being opened and it can add things like lights to the response of something happening.  In my case I pretended a closet door was a safe door, and if it was opened when the security mode was enabled, a video was taken, audio was recorded, and a light was turned on.  Knowing the door was open to trigger the security response, and turning on the light was both thanks to the Z-Wave devices.

One thing I notice is that I had a Smart Switch.  It works to turn things on and off but it is a Smart switch too which means it can tell you how much electricity is being used.  With Piper being first a security device, and second a Z-Wave controller it doesn’t show that sort of thing.

If you want Security first, and than a little home automation than Piper is a good choice  But if you want a lot more home automation, than a product that a friend of mine uses is likely a better choice.  It is called SmartThings.  It does security, but it really does a lot more home automation as well.  You can have both Piper and SmartThings, but only one should do Z-Wave and that would be SmartThings.  It is much more heavily integrated – meaning IFTTT, Nest, and a lot more.  I have some gear from them and I will report on them one day.

Let me know if you have questions or comments, and enjoy your weekend!


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8 thoughts on “Piper Update – #3 – Z-Wave Accessories

  1. Would you explain how SmartThings and Piper would work together? Would you still have use of the Piper App? Would the lights be turned on by Piper if it was triggered?

    1. Hi Jim,

      My belief is that Piper and SmartThings would not play together wrt the controller as it can only be controlled by one app. This may change in the future but it was correct when I checked into it recently. So it would be best to have Piper, or SmartThings, but if you have both you need to divide up what they touch.

      I hope that this makes sense?


      1. Michael, wondering if you’ve had any more opportunities to explore this? I’d like to get SmartThings and 3 Piper cameras, but I’d like to use ST to control everything (including the cameras)… wondering if the Piper cameras, because of z-wave, can be used on the SmartThings hub as just another z-wave camera (rather than being a controller)…

      2. Hi Scott,
        Sorry I have not done any more playing. Working for a startup is tough. I think you need to reach out to Piper. Their support is pretty good and see what they have to say. Sorry.


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