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Piper monitors security and automates your home


January 29, 2014

Piper is a home security and automation device from Blacksumac

Piper is a home security and automation device from Blacksumac

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Blacksumac, a developer of remote presence-based smart technology, has announced the US and Canada launch of Piper, a home security and automation device. It allows users to monitor and interact with their home via a smartphone or tablet.

Last year Piper raised over three times its targeted amount via an Indiegogo campaign. The device incorporates a wide-angle camera, motion detector, speaker, microphone, siren, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave controller and sensors for humidity, temperature, sound and ambient light. It can be mounted on a wall or simply placed on flat surface, and an accompanying app allows users to interact with, and control, it. Up to five Pipers can be managed with the app.

First and foremost, Piper provides a video feed that users can remote monitor the home via the app. A 180° fish-eye lens aims to provide a full-view of a room in one shot, and users can also pan and zoom as required. Live video can be accessed using the app, and videos of triggered recordings are saved to Piper's servers in the cloud. The device also monitors temperature, humidity, ambient light and sound levels, as well as providing two-way audio.

Perhaps the device's most useful functionality is its home automation feature. It can be programmed to perform actions or send notifications when it senses certain things. For example, if movement is detected, a message can be sent to the user, who can then launch the app and check on their home via the video feed. The device's Z-Wave capability means it can communicate with other Z-Wave devices, allowing users to control things like lighting or heating.

Gizmag spoke to Blacksumac about the inspiration and creation process for Piper. The idea for the device came from CEO and co-founder Russell Ure, who wanted to ensure that his daughters would return home safely to their apartments at night, but felt that there wasn't anything suitable for apartment renters.

To go about creating Piper, the team started with lots of ideas and concepts, before narrowing them down and refining the vision. "All the time we kept asking ourselves, who do we each know who had little interest in technology, and how would they find our technology useful?" said a company spokesperson. "Busy people who had little interest figuring out technology were our benchmark for usability."

In order to test the simplicity of the device, two focus groups that exemplified this mindset were put together and every feature measured against whether or not the groups would be happy with it.

Piper's portability and adaptability have spawned a variety of applications. So far, Blacksumac has been asked about taking the device traveling, using it to monitor sick or infirm elderly parents, and using it in a greenhouse environment. Customers have included farmers, veterinary clinics and dentists.

Blacksumac believes that the future of the smart home will be guided by technology that anticipates what we need and is controlled naturally. "The smart, connected home is becoming more and more accessible to consumers than ever before," the company rep explained. "We're going to see more demand from consumers to have the ability to interact with their homes in a simple and seamless way."

Piper, which was named a Design and Engineering Awards Honoree at CES 2014, is available now in the US, retailing from US$239. It will be launching in the EU later this year.

Watch the video below to find out more about Piper.

Source: Piper

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

Nice, but this really needs to be taken a step further. They need a cheaper version of this without all the temperature controls and such. Just a camera, microphone and wifi. Perhaps a dedicated wifi router with data storage and controller to work with all of the devices. If a microphone hears a loud noise like gunshot or scream it would save the previous 5-10 minutes of video in the buffer and continue saving until sound and motion disappears for 5-10 minutes or manually turned off.

Then require police departments buy this kind of equipment instead of used military equipment with their drug money. Then have them install it in high risk homes (with potential victims consent and control of the devices) until the risk is gone.


The NSA and other pervert hackers thank you in advance for your cooperation.


You should revisit the Piper. In the wild, as it were, this thing is a piece of junk. It constantly disconnects from my wifi network (a problem many experience, according to the company's own web forum), Android won't connect over cellular at all, the pet mode is hopeless but when pet mode is off Piper sees nothing at all (i walk past it waving my arms - nada), the "HD video" is nothing of the sort and would be useless for identifying criminals and the company drags out solving issues and ignoring refund requests until you get past 30 days from purchase, when they tell you it's too late. Piper is crap, it was a huge mistake buying one and I suggest avoiding it.


Piper is amazing! I've had it for a couple of months now and it's been really reliable. Especially great for keeping the house safe and stopping me from worrying when living with roommates who constantly forget to lock the door! It's a great product, I'm going to get more to monitor my room and drum set.

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