Amazon has a plan to thwart package theft, and it involves letting delivery people inside your house to drop off your orders.
The tech retail giant is launching a new service called Amazon Key. It relies on a system of smart locks and Amazon’s new Cloud Cam. The camera acts as the hub of the system, connects to a home’s Wi-Fi network, and “talks” to the smart locks via the Zigbee wireless protocol.
How Amazon Key Works
- A courier has a package marked for in-home delivery. First, they’re instructed to knock or ring the doorbell. If no one’s home, they send a request to Amazon’s cloud.
- The cloud grants permission and sends a message to the camera, which begins recording.
- The courier then receives a prompt on their app. When they swipe it, your front door unlocks.
- They open the door “just a crack,” drop off your package and lock the door via the same app. All the while, customers get a notification and a video of the delivery.
Amazon’s VP for delivery technology, Peter Larsen, said the new system gives users “choice, peace of mind and convenience.” But, of course, the system’s success will probably depend on how much customers trust Amazon to ensure that in-home deliveries are being made properly.
The system works with a variety of smart locks, including Yale and Kwikset. But its proprietary camera is the real heart of Amazon Key, and it represents just another of the company’s pushes into the first-party smart home market.
Once the Amazon Key system is set up in a home, in-home delivery will become an option. There will be no additional charge, but the service will only be available in 37 cities initially — the areas where Amazon’s own delivery service operates. Amazon Key will be available for over 10 million items, but the company hopes that Key will be used for things housecleaning via Amazon Home Services, too.
Amazon is currently selling a bundle for $249.99 which includes the camera, a smart lock and installation. Prime customers can preorder the camera today, but the actual service launches on Nov. 8.