Sunday, 20 April 2014

Corliss Home Security - Survey your kingdom



This is arguably the coolest feature on the device. Depending on where you place Piper, the camera’s super wide field of view allows you to surveil a large area of your home, and in many cases eliminates the need for multiple cameras to be positioned throughout a given room. It’s also equipped with a digital pan/zoom function, so you can zoom into the room and pan around without actually changing the position of the device. BlackSumac’s website claims the video is HD, and it may very well be recording in HD, but if you tap into a live video stream, don’t expect it to look super crisp. Even on the two blazing-fast Wi-Fi networks we tried it on, the footage came up a bit grainy and slow on our phones – but not to the point where it was unusable. On the plus, side, however, we found that playback was only a second or two behind real time, even on a crappy 3G connection.

In addition to using it for live video surveillance, you can also set up Piper to record video whenever certain sensors are tripped. Once activated, Piper will record a 20-second clip, and automatically saves it to the cloud — so even if an intruder breaks in and steals the camera, you’ll still have access to the footage. It’s a smart setup, and could definitely come in handy if you should ever need to use the footage is any sort of legal proceeding – but unfortunately the app doesn’t offer any way to export these videos, so the only way you can access them is through your phone.

Piper is compatible with the Z-Wave standard, so if your house is outfitted with other Z-Wave devices, the things you can do with Piper expand exponentially. BlackSumac was kind enough to include a door sensor and an outlet switch with our review unit, so we were able to experiment with a few different automation functions during our time with it. For example, while I had this thing at my house, I plugged a lamp into the outlet switch and configured it to turn on whenever the ambient light dropped below a certain level each night. In another setup, I used the outlet switch to activate a box fan whenever Piper detected the temperature in my living room was above 70 degrees. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to hook Piper up to awesome stuff like thermostats, automatic shades, or door locks, but Piper could ostensibly be used to control these things as well. So basically, don’t be fooled – this thing is touted as a security device, but it’s a surprisingly capable home automation hub as well.

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