Amazon Key promises Prime subscribers more convenience
Jeff Bezos has the key to your house.
Amazon has introduced a new feature that allows customers to let couriers into their home, even if they’re not in. Known as Amazon Key, the new service involves the internet behemoth’s newly introduced Cloud Cam imaging device and a compatible smart lock. Upon arriving at your doorstep, a delivery person can request entry. Using an encrypted process, Amazon verifies that they’re there at the appropriate time and then unlocks the door. A camera then records the courier while they’re in your home.
(That said, the Key nomenclature is a bit of a misnomer since the courier doesn’t actually get a digital access code or key to your home.)
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant will launch Key in 37 metropolitan areas across the United States on November 8 and it’s only available to subscribers of Amazon’s Prime service, which typically costs $99 a year. Though customers can select in-unit delivery for free, users will have to splurge on an In-Home Kit that runs upwards of $249.99. To assuage users with trust issues, they’ll be able to live stream a courier’s time in their home or record it for later viewing.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement.
The new service is one solution to a growing problem for landlords across America. Since Amazon popularized e-commerce and quick delivery in recent years, many property managers have reported that their mailrooms are now flooded with packages. This in turn raises costs since more staff need to be assigned to handling mail. For instance Avalon Bay, a luxury apartment manager, says it’s seen a 20 to 30% increase in the amount of packages it’s handling. To that end, Amazon has also been signing agreements with landlords across the countries to install smart lockers in their building lobbies.
Meanwhile, residents in non-attended buildings now also have a three-figure alternative to asking delivery people to leave their packages out in public areas, where they could be misappropriated.
Amazon Key also has a remit beyond delivery. For example, owners can use it to allow AirBnB guests keyless access into their homes. In addition, the company says it’s working to integrate over 1,200 services into Key. This means that in the not too distant future, authorized dog walkers and housekeepers can also let themselves in.
The service however, has already received much internet snark. Some critics are concerned about the privacy and security issues that arise when you let strangers—and a smart camera—into your home. Another pointed out that African American delivery men should still avoid entering people’s houses—a nod to how law enforcement authorities have accidentally shot black men whom they took for criminals.
Amazon Murder is a new service that lets murderers murder you. https://t.co/3uSvIdgc1D
— Eve of All Saints (@RWhittall) October 25, 2017
I can't imagine there were a lot of women (or perhaps any) on the team that came up with Amazon Key. Good lord.
— Charles Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) October 25, 2017
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