Amazon has once again upped the home delivery playing field. On Oct. 25, Amazon announced their plans to launch Amazon Key, a service that will allow Amazon Prime customers to hand over a “digital house key” to authorized Amazon drivers, who will then access the customer’s homes in order to securely and conveniently leave packages. As an effort to minimize the ongoing stolen packages issue many Amazon Prime members face in urban areas, Amazon Key aims to give customers peace of mind, knowing their packages will be safely waiting when they arrive home.
The service requires customers to download the Amazon Key app on their mobile phones in addition to purchasing the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) and indoor security camera with compatible smart lock. These kits will be available Nov. 8 in 37 select areas across the U.S. and will cost $249.99 per kit with free installation service.
However, Amazon Key has received mixed reactions. Many feel apprehensive about allowing strangers access to their homes and find it ironic that in order to secure their purchases more user-sensitive information must be doled out. One major downside to the service involves scheduling issues. The service is essentially a solution to packages being delivered during work hours. However, if a majority of people schedule deliveries during the typical 8 AM – 5 PM work day, can Amazon actually promise that all packages can be delivered at the designated time? Not to mention that using the service runs the risk of pets getting loose or even attacking an unknown delivery person. There are simply too many contingencies at this point to be able to assess how well Amazon Key will play out.
In a press release, Amazon has said that to minimize worry, Amazon Key users will be able to customize the frequency, length of visit, and which contacts will be allowed access. And in the following months after the launch, the service will begin to integrate the other 1,200 other services Amazon has available through Amazon Home Services, such as cleaning companies and dog walkers.
The process of ordering and receiving in-home deliveries is rather easy. The customer must simply select “in-home delivery” during the checkout process and each time an Amazon driver requests access to a home Amazon will verify the driver is at the correct address and at the designated scheduled time through encrypted authentication. Once this process is complete, the Amazon Cloud Cam will begin to record and the smart lock will self-unlock. No access codes or physical keys will ever be given to the drivers.
Regardless of the critics, it is safe to say Amazon is truly testing the limits of home deliveries and has brought a major game-changer to the scene.