My thoughts on Piper – or Piper Update #4

Hello all,

I have been tracking this for a while and thought I would share it out.  I hope that someone thinking of buying Piper, or the Piper Product Managers see this and find it helpful.

General Th0ughts

  • I really like the Dashboard organization and the Vitals area.
  • Rules are easy and clear, and seem to work well.
  • Batteries needed to be replaced fairly quickly.
  • Support has only been used once but it was good.
  • Z-Wave integration seems to work but is targeted at only stuff that fits security.  Door / Windows monitors and power on type stuff.  This makes sense and much more than this would be hard on the UI.
  • I was able to easily remove a switch Z-Wave accessory but not a Door monitor and I had to force it out and that seemed to work fine.
  • You can power something on as a result of a rule – which is handy to get better pictures thanks to a light on, but you cannot power off.  In other words it would be logical to have a light on for an alarm condition and than off when the alarm condition leaves.  Currently it gets on but not off.
  • Piper is not a home automation solution, but rather a security solution that supports home automation.  This is a good thing.
  • I quite like the Weather alert service.  It seems to work only occasionally though.
  • I liked seeing the low battery alert in the middle of the wheel on the Dashboard.
  • There was a very good install article in the Black Sumac web site.
  • The KB was useful and easy to use.

What is missing?

  • Geo fencing – for enable / disable of security, and you would need to pick what rule would be used.
  • Multiple device support.  I am worried however of how this would be handled in the UI.  The UI is clearly built for only one device – which is surprising of course.
  • The low battery indicated seen in the center of the wheel seems to be visible sometimes but not other times.  Should be consistent.
  • There should be an event for when new batteries are inserted, plus a spot to look and see the status of batteries.

What really does it need?

  1. Multi – unit capability.  This is important – one is not enough to protect a home.  It needs to be done right – so not just management of devices but actually federated information in the Vitals area.
  2. Geo Fence – automatic enable and disable of security is key and very useful.
  3. External Support needs to be fixed.  Having Plug and Play is not the solution for most or all of the potential customers.  The product needs to be using HTTPS instead of a proprietary port.
  4. If the unit loses power, it should come back on when the power is returned.  This is not the current behavior.

BTW, I just discovered how to do this – if you want to see all of my Piper articles click here.

Update: 3/31/14 0843 – shortly after I published this article, I got a push notice that my Piper had lost contact with the network.  It did not come back by morning.  I could not shut it down.  The indicator light was sort of yellowish.  I had to unplug it, and remove the batteries before it shutdown.  I had to manually turn it on and it took a few minutes but now it is fine.  The Vitals shows it was not working last night.  Not sure what happened but this is the first behavior like this I have seen.

Hope that this helps,

Michael

=== END ===

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Posted in Home Automation

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