As cities attempt to woo over Amazon in to build second headquarters in their area, Amazon is looking to expand operations into our homes. Amazon has now turned it’s eyes towards “in-home delivery” with the introduction of their new Amazon Key service which will be available to prime members beginning next month.
The system will grant Amazon’s delivery workers keyless access to your house so they can “drop packages safely inside in your homes”. Amazon Key will only be available in “37 cities and surrounding areas” and only in the united states at first but more and more locations will be included after launch.
The areas in which Amazon Key will first launch include major metropolitan areas, with all of the usual suspects like Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC on the list. Curiously, New York City will not be included in the initial launch, but we imagine it’ll be added not long after the service is up and running.
With one more step toward technology completely destroying privacy in the 21st century. To me this presents some serious security and privacy concerns and I wonder what type of people are actually thinking to themselves “I Am Very Excited To Give Amazon The Power To Unlock The Door To My Home”. Walmart is testing a similar service in California’s Silicon Valley, which lets delivery people drop off packages or even stock the fridge with groceries bought from Walmart online. The delivery person is given a one-time code to open the door and Walmart said customers will get an alert on their smartphones when someone enters.
How does it work?
According to Amazon customers will first pick up an “Amazon Key In-Home Kit”, which costs about $250 and is available for pre-order today. The In-Home Kit comes with a smart lock made by manufacturers like Yale or Kwikset, along with the Amazon Cloud Cam, and access to the Amazon Key app, which will allow you (and Amazon) to monitor your package delivery and allow remote access for package deliveries or guests.
The Cloud Cam ie. a camera that broadcast and records to a cloud server (Amazon owns), will be how the system operates. The camera has high definition 1080p resolution, along with features like night vision and two-way audio through the Cloud Cam app. If you only pick up the camera without a monthly subscription, you’ll be able to access video clips (which are recorded when human activity is detected) from up to three cameras, which are stored on Amazon’s AWS servers. There are also AWS subscription plans that support up to 10 Cloud Cams and the motion detected clips will reportedly only backed up for to 30 days, however there is no way to verify that the recordings will ever be deleted.
Those smart locks that ship with the In-Home Kit are approved to work with Amazon Key, so it sounds like you may need a specific brand even if you already have your front door equipped with a smart lock. On the day of delivery, you’ll receive a four-hour window that your delivery driver will arrive within, along with another notification when they actually arrive at your house, letting you watch the whole delivery through your Cloud Cam.
Once your delivery driver has arrived, they’ll knock on the front door first and, assuming that no one answers, will then be granted access from Amazon itself. The company will verify that the right driver is at the correct address, thereby preventing any other Amazon delivery drivers from gaining access.
The smart lock you buy can also be used outside of Amazon Key, allowing you to create time-limited access codes for services or friends.
It sounds like Amazon has thought this through completely, I expect to see some push back against the idea of granting Amazon access to your home when you’re not around. Still, for those who don’t mind, Amazon Key should ensure that your deliveries are safe from those who would make off with them when they’re left outside the front door. Amazon’s In-Home Kit is available for pre-order today, with launch scheduled for November 8.