The new Amazon Key service will allow the company's staff to leave packages in your home even when you’re not there. Question is: do you want them to?
The newly announced scheme, which was previously rumored, makes use of a smart lock on your door, an app, and another new Amazon product called Cloud Cam. For $250, Prime members in 37 American cities can have Amazon install the kit in their homes. Then, upon arriving with a package when you’re nowhere to be seen, delivery drivers can let themselves in. Amazon explains how it works:
Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked.
The firm is at pains to point out that delivery staff never have access to door codes or keys. It also says customers can watch footage from the Cloud Cam (itself available as a standalone $120 security camera with night vision and two-way audio) either live or later in the day to ease their mind. And if it does all go wrong, Amazon vice president of delivery technology Peter Larsen tells Reuters, “you can call customer service, file a claim, and Amazon will work with you to make sure it’s right.” Which, er ... great?
There's still a huge question mark over whether consumers are actually prepared to have delivery staff enter their homes, even if they do bear the gifts of consumerism. Amazon, however, doesn’t appear to think it’s a gimmick, but a key part of its offer in the future. “This is not an experiment for us,” said Peter to Reuters. “This is a core part of the Amazon shopping experience from this point forward.” Welcome to boundary-free future, folks.
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