Piper a 'lead-in technology' for security companies

Software platform provider iControl acquires Piper, DIY 'home awareness and automation device'
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—Software platform provider iControl is one step closer to providing “smart home solutions for every household in the world,” with the April 9 acquisition of Blacksumac, iControl marketing director Greg Roberts told Security Systems News.

Blacksumac makes a Wi-Fi-enabled “home awareness and automation device” called Piper. IControl is the connected home technology software platform used by ADT’s Pulse, and a number of cable companies, including Comcast's Xfinity Home, Time Warner Cable's IntelligentHome and Rogers Smart Home.

Piper is a DIY, self-monitored device that combines HD panoramic video, home automation and environmental sensors. Users control the devices with a smartphone, tablet or other Internet-connected device.

Roberts said the device is ideal for the “severely underserved renter and multifamily dwelling market and a strong strategic fit for the international market, and iControl is actively pursuing that market.”

He called the multifamily and renter market “a fairly significant audience that can’t have an installer come into the home and drill in the wall.”

However, Piper is “not just a hardware buy,” he said. “It’s a solution that can be innovated upon from now until the end of time.”
 
Russell Ure, who co-founded Blacksumac in 2012, and is now EVP and GM of iControl Canada, based in Ottawa, said Piper is a great “lead-in technology for people who know very little about security and home automation.” It’s a pool of people that “is much larger than those who currently have professionally installed security and smart home systems.”

There is a place for professional installer with Piper, he said.

Professional security companies can “offer Piper along with a simple set of Z-Wave devices, and installing it for the nontechnically inclined customer.” Ure predicts that customers who use Piper will begin to understand the technology and “how it can improve their lives. … Installers would have the opportunity to upsell enhanced services, perhaps a more palatable sell as these consumers will have a better appreciation of the benefits Piper provides.”

He believes Piper “will fit nicely in [professional security installers’] portfolio of solutions. We believe this can be enabled during the next several months, and we will be proactively reaching out to this community to develop plans and solicit ideas.”

Terms of the deal were not announced. Charles River Ventures, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers iFund and Intel Capital back iControl. Several service providers, including ADT, Comcast Ventures, Comporium and Rogers Communications, have made strategic investments in iControl.

The Piper team will remain at its headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario.