Over the last twelve years, Amazon has been continually tweaking their Prime subscription service by adding new options that make receiving packages more convenient, such as installing lockers in convenience stores and residential buildings. Amazon Key is the outfit’s latest move on that front.
Designed to go beyond your door for deliveries, the system, basically, allows a delivery person access to your door, so they can bring in packages instead of leaving it outside the door, where it sits at the mercy of neighbors and strangers. That’s right, you’ll have to let strangers from Amazon into your house, which is a little creepy, although the system does incorporate safeguards to keep you at ease.
The Amazon Key consists of an Amazon Cloud Cam and a compatible smart lock (the system currently uses existing models from Yale and Kwikset). Basically, you install the smart lock at your door in place of your existing deadbolt and set up the Cloud Cam inside your house such that it’s facing the doorway. The idea is you can give Amazon’s people access to use the smart lock, while relying on the camera to record their actions while inside. As such, you will have a recording of any actions done by the delivery people, which should help discourage them from doing anything untoward.
When a courier first arrives in your house, they will scan the barcode on the package, which sends a request to Amazon’s servers. You will then get a prompt from the Amazon app to either allow the delivery or not. Once you approve a delivery, the server will trigger the camera to start recording and the courier receives a prompt on their app that gives them access to the door. They open the door, drop the package, relock the door on the app, and it’s done. As soon as a delivery is finished, the user gets a prompt about it. You can watch the delivery done in real-time, by the way, via a live feed from the camera.
Aside from package deliveries, the Amazon Key can also be used by professional service providers in Amazon’s Home Services division, so if you want to have your home cleaned, your dog walked, or your kitchen sink fixed while you’re out of the house, the system is designed to enable it. Do note, this means the people coming in will go well beyond your doorway, so they will not be recorded by the camera throughout their whole stay. Yeah, we’re guessing this is going to be a much harder sell than the package deliveries, although it won’t surprise us if the service found many takers.
The smart lock, by the way, is a standard version of whichever model you get, so it comes with an app that allows you full control of the lock. That means, you can easily give access to family and friends, provided they download the app on their phones, too.
The Amazon Key is only available in cities where Amazon Logistics handles the package drop-offs for now. That’s a total of just 37 cities, although if successful, they will likely expand this much wider going forward.