Amazon wants customers to open homes to deliveries

In a move bound to leave package-thieving porch pirates gnashing their teeth in frustration, Amazon has just launched a new system that will unlock a home’s door so the delivery person can go in and leave the goods inside.

“Not at home? Not a problem,” Amazon’s promotional material says of the “Amazon Key” service available starting Oct. 25 to Prime members in certain areas, including the Bay Area.

Key requires some infrastructure — a $250 “in-home kit” that includes an indoor security camera and a “smart” lock.

Get tech news in your inbox weekday mornings. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

Using the Key app, customers can watch deliveries take place, according to Amazon.

The system also allows users to let the help — dog walkers and cleaners for example — and out-of-town guests get into a home, Amazon says.

Amazon’s announcement follows news in September that Walmart — in partnership with San Francisco-based smart-lock maker August Home and Menlo Park-based same-day delivery startup Deliv — was testing a system allowing customers to order groceries online and have them delivered inside the home all the way into the refrigerator.

Amazon said the video shot by the indoor camera won’t be used for selling products to users.

“The Cloud Cam videos are for you the customer,” Charlie Tritschler, Amazon vice-president of product development, told Wired.

“They’re not something Amazon is using to analyze purchase behavior, or anything like that.”

Whether the system’s intrusive nature will deter consumers remains to be seen.

“I think there’s a lot of unknowns there,” Ben Bajarin, consumer technology researcher at Creative Strategies in San Jose, told Wired.

“I recognize that they’ve identified a pain point. I applaud they’re trying to solve it. I’m just not sure this is the one people are ready for yet.”

The magazine pointed to potential issues down the line.

“Today, Amazon assures that its in-home delivery professionals have gone through comprehensive background checks,” Wired reported.

“But it plans eventually to open up the service to third-party vendors, like Merry Maids and Rover, over which Amazon does not exert direct vetting.”


Photo: Packages travel down a conveyor belt before being scanned and a shipping address is attached at the Amazon fulfillment center in Tracy on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)


Tags: , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • omegatalon

    There have been times when I was home in the bathroom or shower when it’s just not convenient to answer the door; I would hate for the Amazon delivery person to come into my home.. and having this ability, delivery people may simply unlock the door just to hurry the delivery service without seeing if the individual was home or not.