Ottawa-based BlackSumac may not be the first startup to try and revamp the home security system, nor is it the first to use a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo to make it happen. What this batch of Canadians did do however is create one of the sleekest-looking bits of security hardware I’ve seen. The Piper is to security hubs what the Nest is to thermostats.
But what does it do?
The Piper unit itself is about the size of your average desktop computer speaker, and it’s hard not to look at it without being drawn to the user-controllable camera pod (complete with fish-eye lens) right smack in the middle of the thing. More importantly though, the Piper itself is loaded up with temperature, humidity, and motion sensors, and can also act as a base station that communicates with different external sensors thanks to its included Z-Wave support.
It’s also got a bit of an IFTTT streak, as users can tap into those sensors to create custom rules based on what they detect from the Piper iOS and Android app. Did something just make a loud sound in your apartment? You can create a rule that automatically kicks on the lights (assuming you’ve got some Z-Wave friendly controllers installed). Is something (other than Fido) moving around the bedroom? Piper can automatically start recording video, and if you spring for the cellular model, it can also fire off a text message to let you know what’s going on. Of course, different situations require different sets of rules, so the Piper app allows users to be lumped into categories for when you’re at home, at work, or on vacation.
Now is this thing going to replace a more traditional, professionally installed security system? No way. If anything, Piper is likely to find its niche among renters and tech-savvy home owners who want some level of security without having to shell out for a full-blown home monitoring scheme. BlackSumac has at least one notable competitor to do battle with in that space — Canary is yet another Indiegogo darling that wants to simplify home monitoring, but its lack of Z-Wave support means the system isn’t nearly as extensible as Piper.
And the Piper already seems to have to struck a chord — it’s only been two days since the Canadian startup behind it launched an Indiegogo campaign and the project has already made it a third of the way to its $100k funding goal. Just be warned if you decide to take a plunge on this thing: the cheapo early backer spots have all been filled, so you’ll have to shell out at least $209 to trick out your flat.