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Dashboard

Once you're set up, the Piper app's Dashboard becomes its activity hub. The center circle icons control Piper's Security mode, which I'll describe in the Rules section. The icons on the left side are (top to bottom) indoor temperature, panic button and outdoor temperature. Piper doesn't have an outdoor temperature sensor, but instead displays information based your location, which it infers from your WAN IP address.

The right side icons take you to the Settings, Events and Recordings screens. The bottom area of the screen shows the latest Events. The icons at the bottom of the screen switch among Dashboard, Vitals, Live Video, Controls and Rules screens. We'll come back to some of these shortly.

Piper Mobile app

Piper Mobile app

The items in the Settings screen on the left are self-explanatory for the most part. The right-side screenshot below is the Piper Options screen.

Settings (L) & Settings Options (R) screens

Settings (L) & Settings Options (R) screens

There are a lot of options available in the Settings screens. Note the Video Settings item, which lets you separately limit the bandwidth between the app and Piper when connected via Wi-Fi (locally) and cellular (remotely). The max setting for both is 2 Mbps. The video below is worth a watch for an in-depth run-through of all the Settings screens.

The Events screen shows anything Piper considers an alert, i.e. motion, temperature, sound, etc. Events that triggered video recordings are indicated by a Play button, which you can click to view the related video. The Recordings screen lists captured video. In both, Events that have not been viewed are red, while Events that have been viewed are grey or blue.

Piper events vs recordings

Piper events vs recordings
Updated 8/2/15

On July 29th, Piper released a new version of its Android and iOS apps that allows downloading event recordings, something I dinged it for in the original review. Downloading clips is essential to any home security system. Downloading recordings is easy with the new app, simply press the download button to the right of the event you want to download as shown in the image below.

New app functionality within Piper to download videos

New app functionality within Piper to download videos

For those who like a Panic button for their security system, tapping the moon icon at Dashboard left activates a bedside mode. This keeps your phone screen active at night, ready for you to activate that ear-bleedingly loud alarm at the push of a button.

Piper's panic screen  keeps the phone screen active

Piper's panic screen keeps the phone screen active

Moving down to the icons at the bottom of the Dashboard, the Vitals screen shows historical plots for indoor and outdoor temperature, indoor humidity, light and sound levels and motion.

Piper Vitals

Piper Vitals

Live Video does what it says, plus a few other features. The left-most icon at screen bottom right activates the IR LEDs for night vision. Push and holding the microphone icon and speaking will send your voice to the Piper you're currently viewing, in case you have more than one.

Tapping the light bulb icon provides access to any linked Z-Wave switches. The right-most icon switches to Quad View, which shows four quadrants of the live video feed, with distortion from the default 180° "fisheye" view removed. Each quadrant can be zoomed and dragged to move around the view, as can the default "fisheye" view.

Live Video screen

Live Video screen

Tapping on a recorded video icon in the Events or Recordings screen brings up the video player and timeline as shown below. You can scroll along the timeline to view other recorded videos, which are denoted by blue lines. Simply tap on a blue line to play another video.

Video playback

Video playback

Recorded videos can be pinch-zoomed and panned across just like the Live Video view. You can also put recorded video into Quad View to view four quadrants at once.

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