A few weeks ago, I wrote about Walmart’s testing of store-to-fridge delivery, which would allow Walmart employees to gain access to your home while you’re out to put your groceries away for you – an idea that I thought was novel but left me skeptic because Walmart did not require you to have a security camera to supervise the process. Amazon is now taking this idea a step further with its new Amazon Key service, which will allow couriers to deliver your packages right inside your front door if you’re not home, instead of relying on a ‘safe’ place of your choosing outside your house. And Amazon, unlike Walmart, does require you to have a camera to make sure nothing is stolen or untoward – more specifically, Amazon’s Cloud Cam. Here’s how it works.
You install a smart lock on your door, and Amazon’s Cloud Cam to your home (if you don’t already have one). When the courier arrives with your package, he or she will scan the bar code, which will activate an access request to the cloud. Once approved, the camera will start recording, the courier uses the app to unlock your door, leaves the package, re-locks your door and leaves. Once the process is complete, you get a notification on your app and a feed of the footage covering the delivery, which puts your mind at ease that all is well back at home. I’m more on board with this idea because 1) you are required to have a camera to cover the process (which is also a good thing for the courier, as if something is missing, or the house burglarized on the day of the delivery, they cannot be blamed) and 2) the courier doesn’t actually enter your house at all, simply reaches inside to drop your package. This, to me, makes more sense than Walmart’s potentially unsecure, almost invasion-of-privacy delivery idea.
What’s also neat about Amazon Key is that it isn’t merely for deliveries: you could use the key to let other people (people you trust, I should specify) like house cleaners, temporary guests or house sitters without wondering who you’ve given a key to and how many of them came back. You decide who can get in and when, and if you find out that someone has stolen from you or you simply don’t want them back, they can’t disappear with your key causing you to have to change the lock.