Amazon is always looking for ways to revolutionize the online shopping industry, and lately the focus has mainly been on the delivery side of things. Having advanced from the implementation of two-day shipping for Prime customers years ago, all the way to delivering things with actual drones, Amazon has now developed a new service that will literally let its couriers come through your front door.
In the past, Amazon had placed lockers in locations nearby to allow customers to grab their packages at their earliest convenience, but with Amazon Key, customers won’t even have to be home to guarantee their package’s arrival. Instead, after setting up an Amazon Cloud Cam and a compatible smart lock, deliveries will be able to be made safely and effectively while you are away.
The way it works is that when the courier shows up at your home, they scan the barcode on the package, which then verifies the order with the correct address through the cloud system. Once the system confirms it’s the correct delivery, the camera begins recording and the door unlocks, allowing the courier to access your home while also under surveillance.
Once they drop off the package, they swipe the app on their phone, relocking your door and sending you a notice that the delivery was successful. You can even access the video to make sure everything went smoothly.
This allows Amazon to force itself into the forefront of the smart home technology market, mainly because the Cloud Cam can also act as a regular home-monitoring device. You can pair the camera with Amazon’s Alexa, which will allow it to respond to voice commands as well, putting the concept in direct competition with services such as Nest and Ring.
Upon delivery, couriers will still knock or ring your doorbell first to see if you’re home or if there’s a dog around. They are also instructed to only open your door wide enough to fit the package inside, meaning that they shouldn’t enter your home if possible.
The greatest question remains how much trust customers will put into Amazon to manage this kind of service. It’s a big breach in privacy to have a stranger being able to unlock your door, let alone having a camera monitoring the inside of your home at all times.
For now, the Amazon Key is only available in 37 cities across the U.S., and Amazon is only permitting its own special couriers to handle these deliveries for now. That means you don’t have to worry about any third party companies having access to your home, which Amazon hopes will reassure any skeptical customers.
The Amazon Key, complete with the smart lock, Cloud Camera and installation will retail at $249.99. They hope that in the future, customers will begin expanding into Amazon’s extended concepts, including allowing dog-walkers and maids to access your home to complete routine services. Over the coming months, they are hoping to offer services from 60 different professions and 1,200 providers, allowing the concept to become all-encompassing.
The Cloud Cam and smart lock will also be intended to help give easier access to friends and family who may need to enter your home, whether it be a one-time thing or permanent access — all of this access will be able to be controlled from your phone.
Amazon is surely taking a big step by offering such a personal yet convenient service, so it will be interesting to monitor how many of their 85 million Prime customers will take advantage of the Amazon Key. After all, they will have a lot more information about your lifestyle and know when you are home or not, so if people show that they’re comfortable with this, we may be in the next era of smart home accessibility.