SmartThings and Piper: Side by Side?


(Mike S) #1

This may be the wrong place to post this, if so, my apologies in advance.

I’m brand new to SmartThings, currently waiting for my Hub and first set of devices to be delivered. In my winter home in Florida, I have a Piper Classic system with a very simple setup consisting of a pair of GE switches and an Ecolink Door Sensor.

I’m pretty satisfied with the Piper’s basic functionality but frustrated with the range of devices that I can add to my system. Last winter my Northern home, in Maine, was broken in to and a number of my gadgets were stolen. The Piper in FL was intended for the Maine house but I didn’t receive it until December when I was already in Florida. So I ended up protected down south but not in Maine where, it turns out, I needed it.

So my project for this summer is to equip this house with what it needs for basic security and maybe a little home automation in the process. I could go with just another Piper, but the SmartThings ecosystem appears to be so well developed that I’d be crazy not to explore it.

But there is one big hole in ST’s offering: video. ST can provide everything that I’m planning for but currently there doesn’t appear to be any device available that will provide a video feed of my home thru the ST Hub. So the solution I’m contemplating is installing both an ST Hub and a Piper NV.

My plan is to use ST for all of the device connections I’m planning with the Piper running in parallel and with each providing backup for the other. It’s hard to imagine both SmartThings’ servers and Piper’s servers going down at the same time, so if one vendor has an outage, I’ll still have the other to provide a level of protection.

Of course the hole in this strategy is if my ISP goes down, but I can only provide so much redundancy.

So my question to the ST Community: does anyone out there have any experience in running a ST hub along side of some other zwave controller in the same (small) building? Or to put it another way, can two, non-compatible zwave controllers coexist in the same space without interfering with each other?

I don’t anticipate paring any external devices to the Piper, only to the ST Hub. But Piper does have a number of internal sensors and there is always the possibility that I might find the need to connect some device to the Piper.

I’d like to hear from anyone with any experience or thoughts in this area. Thanks for your input and help.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #2

@JDRoberts will give you the most informed answer, but… Yes.

Sure…there will be RF interference if there’s a lot of traffic, but it shouldn’t be much worse than having multiple WiFi networks in the same area. Z-Wave has collision handling.


(Tim Slagle) #3

I love how everyone in this community has their role :stuck_out_tongue:


(David Creed) #4

Hi Mike,

One other option to handle just your video monitoring would be to run D-Link cameras with the motion detection feature activated. You can then receive email alerts if something is detected. You can also use the iPhone/Android app to check in on things remotely.

Regards,
David


#5

I’ll try…

(I was a network engineer before ever getting involved with home automation, so I’ve worked with a number of multiple network installations. I also tend to be very interested in network protocols, hence the shout.)

There should be no major issue, zwave and zigbee are controller-based systems. Each end device can belong to only one primary controller. There’s no problem having multiple controllers, and consequently multiple networks, in the same building–each end device knows who it’s reporting to. apartment residents generally get no interference from their neighbors.

This also means each device will only repeat for its own network, which might affect choice of device placement.

Many people, myself included, run a separate security system, reserving SmartThings for home automation.

It’s possible that you might just get too much noise, but since zwave networks are intended for tiny packets and low traffic and handle resends nicely, it’s not likely.

So my initial feeling is there should be no problem, but of course “All home automation is local.” You’d need to try it to be sure.


(Ray) #6

I still have my piper sitting around somewhere. Too many fault alarm that I was afraid to have it on. That phantom loud siren gives me nightmare. There are way more things you can do with ST. I don’t think you will have any problem with both systems running. I did have a couple of z wave devices with piper while having ST running at the same time before.


(Mike S) #7

You’re the second person that I’ve seen complaining about false alerts. I had a brief problem with Piper sending me messages that my temperature limit had been exceeded but I setup the conditions that caused those alerts accidentally. Otherwise, no problems.

I’m pretty happy with Piper, the product. Not so much with Piper, the company.


(John) #8

I was glad to come across this thread because i was also thinking of maybe using both. I’m new to all of this and been reading online but now i just noticed that ST V2 supports cameras. So my question is if i did install ST v2 with a camera like the samsung hd or one of the compatible dlink cameras, how would it work? What does ST do with the video that it records? Do i have any option to have it recording all the time and have the video forwarded to a ftp server or external drive? I haven’t found too much info on what exactly ST does once the camera is connected.


(Mike S) #9

John, I don’t have a camera set up in ST so I can’t address your main question. But since my original post I have sold my Piper, which was installed in my winter home in FL.

I spent a considerable amount of time and money setting up a ST system in my summer home. I didn’t upgrade to the V2 Hub, but planned on buying one and running it side by side with Piper over the winter. But within days of arriving in Florida, I caught a press release that Wink (a SmartThings alternative) had reached an agreement with Canary (a Piper alternative), both of which are NYC based companies, to link their two products to each other.

Since I was planning on installing a new system in FL anyway, I decided to buy a Wink Hub instead of the ST V2 and see how they compared. And if I liked what I saw, I’d sell my Piper and buy a Canary. To make a long, long story short, I got far enough down that trail to sell the Piper and then discovered that the Wink/Canary integration wasn’t nearly what it was portrayed to be. First Piper told me that all I could do was access the Canary motion sensor, then Canary told me, “No, all you can do is arm your Canary or disarm it.” I don’t know which one is correct but I’ve decided to skip Canary, sell the Wink Hub and go back to ST V2, per my original plan. All of the devices that I have controlled by Wink will move over to ST and I’m pretty sure I can get most of what I paid for the Hub back.

And for your original question, I’m waiting a while to hook a camera into ST. I’ve got a pair of D-Link DCS-932L’s in my summer home and a DCS-934L here in FL. I use the camera control software that comes with my Synology NAS to control them and that provides what I need for right now. Next year, I’ll see what cameras ST is supporting and make a decision about moving over to ST then.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty well convinced that ST is the best way to fly at the current time. In a few years I might look at HomeKit but for right now, ST provides the greatest range of devices supported, the best customer support and the best selection of “apps” to control your devices. In particular, this User Forum that ST runs is one of the biggest assets they have.


(John) #10

Thanks for all the info. Thats actually the same nas i been thinking of buying also. Would be nice if some how i could have the cameras recording to the nas but then also have them integrated with ST but that might not be possible. Hopefully once i get it all figured out i’ll start a new youtube channel and share the videos of my setup.


(Mike S) #11

John,

I think you’ll find the Synology products are pretty interesting. I’ve got one up north and one here in FL and I’m very satisfied with them. Each box comes with a license to support two cameras and you can purchase more if you need it. I haven’t gone that far yet so I haven’t looked into the pricing.

Synology supports many cameras, from many manufacturers. From the outside looking in it appears that what they’ve done is create an API that hooks their support into the manufacturer’s native setup and driver. So you first run the setup routine that came with the camera, then go into Surveillance Station (bundled on the NAS) and link your NAS to the native support. Because of that architecture I think you may be able to access the camera in both ST and Surveillance Station.


(Ray) #12

I’m on the phone with Piper now and they say that IFTTT is coming VERY soon. End of April is the tentative release date.


(Sebastien Prune) #13

Seems piper is releasing a full-featured new camera : http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1225904-REG/piper_rp1_0_na_w_e_classic_2mp_wireless_camera.html

As this one have wifi + z-wave, I expect it will allow us to add the motion detection sensor inside SM, and use the Piper application to watch video…
Any thought on this setup ?


#14

IFTTT channel released. Color me intrigued…


#15

The piper channel is extremely limited. Basically you can just see that this whole system is armed or disarmed. You can’t get reports from individual sensors or cameras, unless they’ve added a whole new separate channel, and I didn’t see one.

I was actually very disappointed in this implementation.


#16

I’m confused–The camera you link to is the old one (it says piper classic) and the camera itself is not zwave. It’s only Wi-Fi. Z wave aspect comes in because the piper system allows you to add Z wave motion and contact sensors. Which it has always done. But you can’t integrate them with smart things directly.

The newer model is the piper NV, where the NV stands for “night vision.” That was the big feature addition for that model.

http://store.getpiper.com