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Rules

Piper has four user-selectable modes, each with its own rule set. The modes are Stay, Away, Vacation and Notify Only and are easily selectable on Dashboard screen. When you change modes, Piper provides spoken notice to confirm the change. You have to manually switch among the modes. There is no geofencing option to automatically switch to Away mode when you leave home.

Piper's base unit has rules for motion, loud sound and temperature change detection. If a Z-Wave Door / Window sensor is connected, a rules option for it will also be shown (the If Front Window opens rule shown below).

Rule options

Rule options

The composite screenshot below shows Rule options for the Z-Wave Door / Window sensor and motion in the Stay mode screen. The Door / Window sensor can be mounted to windows and doors and uses a roller switch vs. magnet and sensor. All actions are also available in the other mode screens.

"Trusted Circle" contains additional contacts you define in Settings that can be notified when an Event is triggered. The "Turn Light on" option is shown only if a Z-Wave Smart Switch is connected. ("Light" was the name assigned to the switch when it was added and can be changed.)

Rule actions for door/window (L) and motion (R)

Rule actions for door/window (L) and motion (R)

Piper can also take action based on temperature, but not on humidity. The screenshot below shows a temperature rule with high and low limits. An alert will be triggered if the temperature moves outside the set range.

Piper temp configuration options

Piper temp configuration options

Z-Wave

Piper's key differentiation vs. Canary is its ability to incorporate Z-Wave devices to extend its monitoring features. But Piper also can control Z-Wave devices independent of its security side. Icontrol Networks sent a Z-Wave Smart Switch ($44.95) and Z-Wave window/door sensor ($39.95), shown below, with the Piper nv. Icontrol also offers Smart Dimmer ($44.95), Micro Smart Switch ($44.95), and Z-Wave Range Extenders ($24.95) in its Accessory line. The device FCC IDs show they are made by Aeon Labs, a Z-Wave OEM/ODM.

Piper Z-Wave sensors sent along for review

Piper Z-Wave sensors sent along for review

Adding Z-Wave devices is extremely easy. Just go to the Z-Wave Accessories Settings screen, add a device and then push the button on the sensor. Once paired, configuration options for events came available, as I described earlier. The image below shows the sequence of screens for adding a Z-Wave device.

Z-Wave device add sequence

Z-Wave device add sequence

Once paired, the Door/Window sensor can be used as a security trigger Event. Output devices (switch and dimmer) can be incorporated into security Rules and also used without triggering alarms via the Controls screen. The composite below shows three methods available for switch automation: schedule; temperature and ambient light level. The schedule method offers simple on/off options; Piper doesn't offer sunrise/sunset automation.

Temperature automation requires you select the type of appliance, either air conditioner or heater. Selecting the former activates the switch when the temperature exceeds the set point; selecting heater turns on the switch when the temperature falls below the set point.

Ambient light automation can be used only to activate the switch when the room gets "dark". There isn't a control to let you define the "dark" setting. And keep in mind light level is measured where Piper is, not the lamp being controlled.

Controls automation screens

Controls automation screens

While it's possible to add the same device to both automation Control and security rules, you probably won't get the desired effect. For example, if you had a light turn on when a security event was triggered, a schedule Control won't turn it off at the programmed time.

Icontrol says up to 232 Z-wave devices can be controlled by Piper, with this FAQ saying "any make or brand of Z-Wave accessories" will work as long as it is an on / off or dimmer switch, open / close sensor or Z-Wave range extender. Despite what this Advanced Z-Wave Network Management Word doc says (we checked with Piper Support), Piper can't be added to another Z-Wave network.

Finally, Piper doesn't support IFTTT.

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