Amazon’s virtually entered homes across the world with the power of Alexa, but now it wants to take things to the next level by physically doing so through your front door. It’s launched a new Key service that lets delivery personnel unlock your door and deposit your package inside.
Allowing a stranger into your home on a regular basis sounds like an insanely risky idea. Amazon is going out of its way to reassure customers that the whole enterprise is safe, but at the end of the day you’ll have to pay the price if a rogue delivery agent decides to steal or damage something.
Amazon Key requires a Prime subscription and a $249.99 In-Home Kit. The latter includes a compatible smart lock from Yale or Kwikset and the Amazon Cloud Cam which is to be installed inside the home facing the door. Once everything is set up, you can use the service to let couriers drop items and let friends and family in.
If a delivery agent is on their way, you’ll get an alert on your phone and can choose to watch the delivery live or later. Once the formality of knocking is done, the person can scan the barcode and send a request to Amazon to let them in. If the cloud gives the go-ahead, it sends a message to the Cloud Cam to start recording.
The courier will then have to swipe their phone’s screen to unlock the door, deliver the package, and finally relock the door with another swipe. It sounds simple, but there’s huge amount of trust which has to be handed over to Amazon to make sure everything is done above-board.
Even if you can watch a stream live, there’s little you can do if someone makes off with something. There’s an Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee in place for such grievances, but we’ll have to wait and see just how effective it is. The company’s promising to use only its own Logistics team at first, but hopes to expand to third-party companies in the future.