One of the biggest reasons to cough up $99 each year for Amazon‘s Prime service is its flexibility in terms of delivery methods. Whether it is through free two-day shipping, same-day shipping, or the use of lockers in stores and buildings, there are many ways Prime customers can receive their orders.
However, apart from the use of lockers, these delivery methods involve your packages waiting for your outside of your home or apartment. In Amazon’s mind, the next logical step would be to enter your home to leave your packages inside, which is where Amazon Key comes in.
A newly-announced delivery service, Amazon Key allows couriers to deliver your packages into your home. To make this work, the service relies on Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock.
As the name suggests, the Cloud Cam uses your in-home Wi-Fi to talk to the lock when a courier arrives with your package. The courier will need to scan the package’s barcode, with the information sent to Amazon’s cloud. Once the courier gets the all-clear, the camera is then notified to start recording. Meanwhile, the courier will receive a prompt on their app and can then unlock the door with a swipe. When couriers leave, they re-lock the door with another swipe and depart for their next venture.
Customers will get notified when their deliveries arrive, as well as a short video that shows the courier dropping their packages off to make sure everything is in order.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, however, the biggest conversation topic regarding Amazon Key isn’t the service itself, but the Cloud Cam. With Amazon Key, the company also bets you will use the Cloud Cam for more than just deliveries. For example, the delivery service’s app allows you to grant access to others. Whether that is on a permanent, one-time, or recurring basis is up to you.
At the same time, it is a bet that will test Prime customers’ trust in the company. To help allay any privacy concerns, customers will be notified in the morning that their packages will be delivered, the delivery window of time, and when the courier arrives. The latter notification will allow customers to view a live stream of the delivery.
Amazon also says it will rely on its own delivery team for Amazon Key, which is why the delivery service will initially be available in the 37 US cities where Amazon Logistics is established. When actual deliveries are made, couriers are instructed to open the door far enough to slide packages in and not enter the home if possible.
Whether the convenience of Amazon Key outweighs privacy and security concerns, that is up to you to determine. You can buy a bundle that includes a Cloud Cam, compatible smart lock, and free installation for $250, though you can buy the Cloud Cam separately for $120. Launch is scheduled for November 8, but we are confident that Amazon Key will continually evolve as time passes.