Piper's product strategist tells us about some of the new things it'll be able to do thanks to IFTTT integration, and reveals his favourite uses so far

With the launch of Piper’s IFTTT channel, we spoke to Reza Kazemi, product strategist at Icontrol Networks (makers of the Piper NV home security system/smart home hub) to tell us how he sees the connected home evolving, and Piper’s place in it.

What’s your vision for Piper’s role in the connected home?

“We feel Piper is the perfect combination of features for the user who wants to control how they secure, monitor, and automate their home. We want Piper to be at the center of people’s lives every day, and help them keep tabs on their loved ones, protect their belongings and explore the newest Smart Home technologies in an easy-to-use, attractive package.”

What sorts of IFTTT recipes are you launching with?

“We love that customers can get very creative with IFTTT and make recipes to connect various services and products together, to their hearts’ content! We’ve supplied the following sample recipes:

  • Disarm Piper when you return home
  • Arm Piper when you leave home
  • Arm Piper when I leave for work (based on time)
  • Disarm Piper according to your daily schedule
  • Alexa, trigger arm my Piper (using Amazon Echo)”

Do you see the Echo as a complementary product or perhaps a competing one, given the NV offers home control?

“Competition in this space is a wonderful thing. That being said, we see the Echo (and other great products in this space) as a catalyst to finally realizing the dream of a connected Smart Home. Since you can use an Amazon Echo to send commands to your Piper, and since our value propositions differ, we think products like the Echo are complementary to Piper’s value proposition. In areas where we compete, we think Piper holds its own against most products, but we’re happy to see so many great gadgets in this space. It’s good for consumers!”

Data and network security is becoming an issue around the smart home. How does Piper protect against intrusion?

“Security in IoT devices is absolutely crucial. As more and more connected devices enter the homes and lives of customers, very special care and attention must be paid to securing the private information these devices and services utilise. We’ve all seen the reports about lacklustre security in IoT products and consumers have a right to expect the very best protection.

“Piper’s role as a security device underscores its need to be as secure as possible. From day one, we built the cloud architecture, mobile app and the device itself to keep customers’ data private and secure. Piper encrypts all outbound communication to its secure cloud using AES-128 and AES-256 algorithms. Furthermore, no inbound connections to Piper are permitted when it’s securing customers’ homes and businesses. All video on our servers are encrypted on disk and the entire software stack (from cloud to app to firmware) is patched on a regular basis, in accordance with industry best practices.

“Finally, to ensure the highest levels of security, we perform quarterly independent security audits using external firms. Our team is relentlessly ensuring that users’ data is protected.

What are people using the Piper for? Have you come across any particularly imaginative uses?

“Here’s my favourite story:

I remember being at a trade show in the early days when we were hustling to get the word out about our amazing little Piper.

“I noticed a gentleman walk sternly toward our booth and ask to speak with ‘someone from Piper’. Nervous, I asked if I could help. He pulled out his phone and began logging into his Piper without saying a word.

“Was he about to report a bug or some problem? When his live video stream came up, we could see a beautiful ocean view. ‘I installed my Piper at our beach house in Florida and pointed it to the water. I wanted to tell you that when I get stressed out and need to take myself to that serene place, I just open the app and watch the waves crashing onto the beach for a bit. I think it’s wonderful!’. We were dumbfounded and humbled!”