Review of the Piper NV Smart Home Security System

Piper nv - Black - Front-1

Pros…..

180° camera, motion sensing, night vision, 2-way audio, loud alarm, environmental sensors, no video storage fees. Links with door/ window sensors, smart plugs, light bulbs.

Cons…

Doesn’t currently link with Nest or other smart thermostat, not all z-wave accessories are supported, can’t change the length of video clip recorded, can get quite pricey when setting up multiple camera system.

Summary

Overall, if you want a DIY home security system without any monthly fees Piper NV is a great option, with video recording, motion sensing, 2 -way audio, a loud alarm and ability to connect to a variety of accessories including door/ window sensors  it has a lot of great features.

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Do you want a security system for your home but don’t want to deal with recurring monthly fees from a security company? Then the Piper NV Home Smart Security System may be what you are looking for. It is a DIY home security solution without any monthly fees.

The heart of the system is a 180° camera with day and night vision, 2-way audio, and motion detection, but is is much more than just a security camera. The Piper NV has a built-in 105 db alarm, environmental sensors that monitor your home and can connect to z-wave accessories such as door/ window sensors, smart plugs and smart bulbs.

To use Piper NV you need to install a free app on your iOS or Android phone/ tablet and wirelessly connect the Piper to your home WiFi network.

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You can set 4 modes -stay, away, vacation and notification only and decide how Piper should react to movement, loud noises, or temperature changes. You can choose to be notified of alerts by text, email, phone, push notifications or all of them. When triggered the Piper will record 30 second video clips with audio which are stored in the cloud, there is no storage fee. From the Piper app on your cellphone you can view stored clips or watch live video. One feature I really like is that when watching the video you can pan around the field of view and zoom in to see details. You can also watch in a quadrant view where you have 4 copies of the video feed in a rectangle, within each copy you can pan to a different angle or zoom in so you can really explore a video clip in depth.

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When using Piper NV for home security you can also add door and window sensors. I tested this out by attaching a Piper sensor to my front door. It was really easy to set up and install- and only took a couple of minutes. It comes with both screws and 3M adhesive mounts. I used the adhesive mounts which worked well. I was concerned that it would be tricky to install correctly as I have a decorative moulding around the doorframe, but it was no problem. Once it is set up whenever the door opens or closes you can be notified and you can choose to have it automatically record and/ or sound the alarm. I found the notifications were fast and accurate. The alarm is REALLY LOUD! (105db) and would be a good deterrent for anyone making an unauthorized entry. I would recommend working out how to switch it off (by tapping the alert home icon in the Piper app) before testing it as it can be hard to think with the alarm blaring!

When you are watching the video feed live you can not only hear audio but also have a 2-way conversation via the Piper – great for when you are checking up on pets (or teenagers!) left alone.

Another feature that I really like and that you don’t see on most home video cameras is that Piper NV also records and displays environmental data – so you can check on your home to see how the indoor and outdoor temperatures, humidity, light level, sound and activity level have been over the last 48 hours.

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I’ve been using the Piper NV in my home for the last month, at first I thought it was just another WiFi video camera system but as I have discovered all its different features I have been very impressed with all that it can do.  As a busy mum I use the camera in several different ways – to check on my dog and cat when I’m not home, to check on my teen to ensure he got home safely from school if I need to go out, and to monitor my home when I’m out for the day or on vacation. I love that the 2-way audio lets me talk to my son, dog and cat. If I’m away from home the weather warnings and environmental sensors are useful to let me know of weather changes happening. I love that when I’m away I can have it record if I have unexpected motion, loud noises, or doors/windows opened and that it also has a very loud alarm that may help scare intruders away. It also has backup batteries so if the power is out or the unit unplugged it will continue to operate.

Whenever Piper is triggered it sends an alert and records a 30 second video clip, it then stops recording, however, the app has a very useful feature – automatic re-arming. If you switch this on it will automatically reset and record again if there is any further motion.

Piper also sells smart plugs and light bulbs that integrate with the Piper NV system. It would be nice to see it integrate with other companies #connectedhome accessories too, so that of you already own a nest, smart plugs or smart lights from other companies you could use them with the system. You can monitor up to 5 Piper’s from your cellphone app so that you can cover a large area of your home. There are bundles available including multiple Piper NVs plus accessories but getting multiple cameras can still add up quickly.

Overall, if you want a DIY home security system without any monthly fees Piper NV is a great option, with video recording, motion sensing, 2 -way audio, a loud alarm and ability to connect to a variety of accessories including door/ window sensors  it has a lot of great features.

 

Available from:  GetPiper.comAmazon and other retailers, single camera $279.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review & Giveaway for Zuli Smart Plug #connectedhome

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I am loving the new #connectedhome products that have been coming on the market in the last year. As the technology is maturing I’m coming to expect more from my #connectedhome devices, but I’m not ready to get rid of all my old appliances to replace them with smart appliances.  Zuli iPhone controlled Smartplugs allow you to create a #connectedhome using your regular appliances. Not only can you control and dim lights with Zuli, but you can also control a whole range of other appliances such as your slow cooker, coffee maker, heater or kettle and it integrates with your Nest thermostat. You can schedule your coffee to brew before you get up, or the heater to go on before you get home.

Set up is simple, you plug in the Zuli Smart Plugs and connect them one at a time using a free smartphone app. As you set them up you can label which room they are in your house and name the plugs (important so you don’t accidentally brew coffee when you want to switch on the light!) To control the plugs you can view them room by room or see all the house’s plugs at once (you can also set up multiple locations e.g. if you have Zuli both at home and at the office.) During setup you mark whether the plug is being used for a dimmable light, non-dimmable light or appliance, if it is a dimmable light you can adjust the brightness via the app otherwise you can switch on and off via the app.

One feature that I love is the ability to schedule plugs to turn on and off at chosen times. This is great for security when you are on vacation, but also useful for everyday living. In the cold winter months I like to have an electric blanket warm up my bed before bedtime but rarely remember to switch it on ahead of time- with the Zuli I can schedule it to switch on 1/2 hour before my regular bedtime and switch off before I’m due to wake up. I can also schedule it so that when I get up in the morning my coffee is brewed and waiting!

features-schedule-2Another cool feature is “presence” which, if you have at least 3 Zuli Smartplugs, allows Zuli it to sense your presence in a room and automatically adjust your connected devices to your preferences. This is cool to watch but more practical for someone living on their own than for a busy family where multiple people are using the room other than the person whose smartphone is controlling the Zuli. Like all GPS enabled apps your smartphone battery will drain much more quickly if you have the location feature on.

Overall, Zuli smartplugs are a great addition to the #connectedhome and I especially love their scheduling feature. Available from: Amazon or Zuli.com Price: $159.99 for Presence 3- pack or $59.99 for single smart plug.

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NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a single Zuli Smart Plug valued at $59.99, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to US & Canada and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Yale Real Living YRD 120 Touchscreen Digital Deadbolt T1L Review

Yale Real Living Key Free Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L_group

Summary

The Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L is a battery operated digital deadbolt that allows you to create (and cancel) up to 100 user codes. It looks stylish, is straightforward to install and set up, easy to use and feels like a more secure way to give access to your home than sharing keys. I would highly recommend the Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L to bring your home security firmly into the 21st century.

Our Rating

 

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Do you ever need to give access to your house when you aren’t home? Maybe a neighbor is feeding your cat whilst you are away, a workman needs to complete a job or someone is coming to walk your dog? Maybe you have a teenager who needs a key to let themselves in, but you are worried they may lose the key. All of these scenarios involve a risk that your key may be lost, stolen or copied and end up in the wrong hands. One solution to this dilemma is to install a digital deadbolt and create temporary access codes that you cancel when they no longer need it.

I recently had the opportunity to test out the YRD120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L with Z-Wave from Yale. This was great timing as I wanted to be able to give my Middle Schooler a way to get in to the house independently, but considering the rate at which he loses sweatshirts I wasn’t convinced he would manage to keep a physical key safe for very long.

Set Up

The lock comes in 3 color choices and I picked the Satin Nickel. The installation of the deadbolt was quite straightforward and similar to installing a traditional keyed deadbolt. The kit comes with a template to show where to cut the holes if installing in a new door. If you are lucky when replacing a traditional deadbolt you may just be able to re-use the same holes. In our case the holes were in the right location but we needed to enlarge them just a little to fit the new deadbolt. The lock is powered by 4 AA batteries, which are included.

Once you have installed the lock you need to create a master passcode- this then allows you to create other passcodes and control the unit. You can create up to 100 user codes. With the master passcode you can create or cancel other user codes, set or unset automatic re-lock and enable all code lockout mode.  If all code lockout mode is enabled the master code is the only one that will open the door, useful if you want to be extra secure at times.

In Use

At first I was a little nervous about having a totally keyless system, what if we were away on vacation and the batteries ran out ? How would we get in? It turns out Yale have thought of that, there is a low battery warning, but if you are away and miss it there is an emergency back up option. On the bottom of the lock there are attachment spots for a 9v battery- you can use this to power up the lock and enter your code as usual.

Most of the time the lock is in sleep mode – showing just a plain black face, to activate it you wave your hand over it, or touch the position where the check mark is. Individual access codes can be 4-8 digits long and I like that there is no indication as to whether a code is correct or not until the whole code has been entered followed by the enter key.

It takes a little practice to memorize your passcode but once you have done it a few times its like dialing a phone number, the muscle memory comes into play and you can tap out the code by feel without even really thinking about it.

I like the ability to set and unset automatic re-lock – it is a useful security feature to have on most of the time, but when my children are playing in the garden or driveway I like to switch it off so they can come in without needing to ring the bell.

I have found having the Digital Deadbolt has made leaving the house much easier and quicker. Instead of finding the key, locking the door and double-checking I’ve successfully locked it, all I have to do is wave my hand over the lock and I hear it securely clicking into place.

It has been a great option to use with my teen – on the rare occasion that he gets home and no-one is in, he knows he can let himself in and I don’t have to worry he’ll lose his key. It also feels much more secure if I have to give anyone else access whilst I’m out, as I can just cancel that passcode after they have used it.

I like how it looks too- it is very sleek and modern looking, my only problem is my old door handle looks very dated next to it, but luckily Yale has a whole range of matching door handles available so I’m going to upgrade that to match it too.

This lock is Z-wave enabled so can be used with security systems that work with Z-wave, I have not been able to test this as I don’t have a system set up to connect with it. It is nice to know however that this could potentially be integrated into a future #connectedhome system.

Overall, I am very happy with the YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt T1L from Yale, it looks stylish, is straightforward to install and set up, it is easy to use and feels like a more secure way to give access to your home than sharing keys. I would highly recommend the Yale YRD 120 Touchscreen Deadbolt TL1 to bring your home security firmly into the 21st century.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Norton Security with Backup by Symantec – Review

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What we love…

easy to use protection for my online life which means that items with viruses don’t get downloaded to my computer by mistake.  Online backup keeps my photos safe and the app for iOS also secures all of my devices

Summary

Easy to use, keeps my computer safe and ensures that hackers can’t get into my computer with a satisfaction guarantee!

Our Rating

 

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Norton Mobile Security – Lost Phone FinderHow many times have you turned on your laptop or desktop and been casually browsing the web – when you download something only to realize that it was a virus or even worse it crashes your computer?  I like many other Moms have a significant digital life which includes using social media, paying my bills online, sharing pictures and news with friends and family via email, online shopping as well as children who use the internet as well.  All of those things make me a great target from a hacker’s perspective.  With Norton Security there is a dashboard that pops up every time I open up my computer so I can check to see that everything is secure.  In the image above, the backup needs to be done, so it does show an “at risk” but once you schedule it everything will show up in the green protected mode.

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True story – I had a PC with Norton on it and let it lapse because “I didn’t think it could happen to me”.  I was new to high speed internet at the time – using high speed cable and thought that I would be okay just for a month or so until I could renew my protection.  Turns out that was a bad mistake.  Hackers somehow got inside my computer and I lost many photos on my computer which I had unfortunately not backed up and the worst part was that I had to replace my computer since the hard drive couldn’t be salvaged.  I learned my lesson and now, I make sure I have up to date anti-virus software with Norton installed on my computers and devices at all times including my iPhone and my husband’s Android phone.  You can protect up to ten devices using one subscription which will cover your smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops all with one login and password.

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One of my favorite features for the mobile version is the ability to remotely wipe your device as well as track it – something I can easily do from my desktop computer.   I also get a monthly security report which shows all of the things that I was protected from in my online activities which includes protection in scanning downloads, cleaning up of my computer, use of wireless hotspots and more.  This report helps me know that my devices are safe and secure no matter where I am.

One other reason I really like Norton Security is the ability to use the automated backup feature which provides online storage for all of my pictures, projects including upcoming blog posts and financial documents like backup copies of my bills are all saved – safe and secure not only on my hard drive but in the cloud.  I can use up to 25 gigabytes of storage space as part of my subscription.  This peace of mind for me is worth the cost of the software so I know that no matter what my pictures won’t disappear.  I also really like that there is a guaranteed protection, which means that if I do download something and Norton scans it and tells me it’s okay but I still get a virus they will fix my computer at no cost.  That’s awesome because although I do scan everything I do worry about the “what if” especially after having my computer crash on me.

As a practical note, I generally try to avoid doing important business on my laptop, tablet or smartphone when using a hotspot.  I generally will not do online banking or shopping via a hotspot as I don’t want to take a chance that my information won’t be encrypted.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a copy of Norton Security for your PC or Mac (valid for one year), please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to United States residents with a PC and a valid email and mailing is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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