Amazon Wants To Let Couriers Into Your Home While You’re Away: ‘Amazon Key’ Service Explained


Online shoppers know it all too well by now: when a package gets delivered while they're away, it often gets stolen or drenched in the rain. Amazon is trying to get around that.

It's no secret Amazon wants packages delivered to customers in the fastest and safest way possible. They're not always at home, though. As a recourse, Amazon tried to put lockers in nearby convenience stores and building lobbies earlier this July. It even showed off drones that can ship items right into customers' yards.

But those solutions don't really address the problem. So the retail company wants, with customers' permission, for couriers to enter their homes and drop packages when the customer is away.

The new service, which the company calls Amazon Key, is exclusive for Prime members in select cities, including Atlanta, Nashville, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and many others. It requires customers to have Amazon's new Cloud Cam plus a smart lock — both of which are included in a $250 kit. The Wi-Fi and Alexa-enabled camera acts as the hub, communicating with the lock via Zigbee wireless protocol.

Amazon Key: How It Works

When a courier arrives to deliver a package and the customer isn't home, they'll scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon's cloud. If it checks out, the cloud triggers the camera to start recording. The courier is prompted via an app, swipes the screen to confirm, and then the smart lock opens. They proceed to deliver the package inside. Once done, they relock the door with another swipe, and are off to their next delivery.

On the customer's end, a notification is sent saying the package has been delivered, including brief footage showing how everything went, just to check if everything was handled well.

"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," said Amazon Delivery Technology VP Peter Larsen. "Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones."

Amazon Prime members can preorder the Cloud cam now, but the actual in-door delivery service begins rolling out on Nov. 8.

How Amazon Plans To Deal With Possible Theft Cases

What could possibly go wrong? Well, there's always a possibility of delivery personnel stealing items, that's for sure. But of course, that's why the setup includes a connected security camera and a smart lock, not to mention confirmation checks via Amazon's cloud. Also, it's highly likely Amazon knows who the delivery personnel is at any given moment, allowing it to hand down sanctions should anything go wrong.

Amazon says it will guarantee protection for customers if a courier steals or damages something inside a home. It also advises customers to keep pets away from the front door when deliveries are expected to avoid situations like a pet dog biting a stranger, or something along those lines. If a courier somehow can't get inside, the deliveries will be left outside.

Thoughts on Amazon Key? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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