Home » Science & Technology » Amazon Key: The e-commerce giants newest service will let couriers open front doors

Amazon Key: The e-commerce giants newest service will let couriers open front doors

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 26 October 2017, 18:18 IST

Amazon Key. Yes, that's the name of the newest service from the e-commerce giant Amazon. It's a service for those who order a lot but aren't at home most of the times to collect the package. Sometimes, such people, are afraid that the package might be swiped from their front door.

The question to be asked is: Would you let a stranger enter your home and deliver the package you have been waiting for all day at the office? Amazon really hopes the answer is yes and they want you to trust them. The online retailer said that Amazon Key will be launching in the USA for Amazon Prime members. It will allow delivery people to open the door, walk into your home and drop off your package.

How does it work?

To use the service, one must be an Amazon Prime member. Thereafter, one has to buy a camera - Amazon’s new Cloud Cam - and a Wi-Fi connected smart lock - from Kwikset or Yale - from the Seattle-based company. This starts at $250 for the bundle or just $120 for the camera. Not a cheap starting point. Finally, after all of that, shoppers can select an in-home delivery on the Amazon app.

Once the item is being delivered, the delivery person will knock first. After that, they will scan the package and Amazon will then determine that it is the right home and unlock the door. Absolutely no codes/keys are needed. The indoor camera that has been installed will record the delivery.

The camera talks to the smart lock over Zigbee. Zigbee is a wireless protocol that is utilised by many smart home devices.

The connected camera is made by Amazon and is a big deal as the company pushes into the smart home space.

Are you worried?

Now, you may be thinking that, if a stranger opens the door, then anything can happen. Whether it is random animals entering the house or that stranger wandering about openly in the house. Maybe even take a piece of that cake you have been eyeing since the morning.

To alleviate these concerns, Amazon has you covered.

Once the barcode is scanned by the delivery person a request is sent to the cloud. If all boxes are clicked, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera. Thereafter, the camera starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on his/her app, swipes, and the door unlocks. The package is dropped off, and with another swipe, the door is relocked. The customer then gets a notification along with a short video, where they can confirm that everything went off smoothly.

Furthermore, the delivery is covered by Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee. This covers all issues related to delivering, property damage and even theft. Amazon has said that the deliveries are carried out only by those drivers who have been vetted with background checks and driving record reviews.

Amazon is further pitching the service saying that the smart lock can be used for many other things that include letting in the housekeeper, dog walkers and even guests who have come to stay over.

Amazon is not the only one in this game. Walmart is testing a similar service in Silicon Valley. Amazon has confirmed that the service will launch on 8 November in 37 cities, including Baltimore and Chicago.

We may not care much for privacy or data anymore. All we consumers seem to care about is convenience. Is this the future? It probably is.

First published: 26 October 2017, 18:18 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.