The era of online shopping has made things more convenient in a lot of ways, but having items turn up when you aren't home can still create a bit of a headache. Last month Walmart put forward a kind of unnerving idea where couriers just go ahead and let themselves in to complete the delivery, something Amazon is also now keen to test out with a new service called Amazon Key.
Walmart's solution had its employees enter a customer's home by punching a one-time passcode into a smart keypad, which is authorized by the customer beforehand. Amazon Key works a little differently, in that it once a compatible smart lock and Amazon Cloud Cam security camera are installed, the dedicated smartphone app handles the rest.
Once an order is placed, user can select the "in-home" option in the app. This means that when the delivery driver turns up, they can request access to the residence and Amazon then verifies that the correct driver is at the correct address at the correct time. The Cloud Cam is an extra layer of security, starting to record and capture any nefarious activity once the in-home delivery is approved by Amazon.
Meanwhile, notifications are pushed to the customer's phone letting them know the delivery is underway and then when it has been completed. They can watch on in real-time through the Cloud Cam or review the video afterwards.
We're sure plenty will have reservations about handing over their home security to Amazon in this way, even if it is meant to be a one-time event. In any case, Amazon is pushing the concept pretty hard, rolling it out in 37 US cities on November 8, with others to follow. It points out that Amazon Key could also be useful when it comes to letting in dog walkers, pet sitters and house cleaners.
The service is free for Amazon Prime members, but they will need to shell out US$250 for the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes a compatible smart lock made by Yale or Kwikset and the Cloud Cam.