Amazon is today announcing a new service called “Amazon Key” for bolstering its smart home coup. Amazon Key will essentially allow couriers to unlock your front door and place the packages inside when you are not home. This facility will work in conjunction with the company’s new Cloud Cam home security camera and a smart lock from one of its partners.
For orders with Amazon Key enabled, couriers will be able to scan a barcode for requesting access from Amazon’s cloud. Once the verification process completes, the backend will respond with a message to the camera for commencing recording and a prompt on the courier’s app which will unlock the door as soon as the person swipes on the screen. The courier can then get in your home, drop the package, relock the door with another swipe and leave. The customer will receive an alert as well with the recorded clip.
That’s not all. Considering the level of privacy and security at stake here, Amazon has added a slew of precautionary layers to ensure there’s no misuse. For starters, the customer will receive a notification the morning of a delivery for defining a window of time. In addition to that, another notification will send out when the delivery van arrives. Tapping on this one will also let you monitor the activity through a live stream. Furthermore, Amazon says that couriers will enter the home only if necessary. In most scenarios, they will merely unlock the door, slide the package in and leave.
As of now, there are no additional charges for Amazon Key but you do need compatible hardware including Amazon’s own Cloud Cam. Initially, the e-commerce leader has partnered with two well-known brands for smart locks — Yale and Kwikset.
Amazon is also selling a few bundles to kick things off. For $249.99, you will get a smart lock, the connected camera, and free installation. In case you already own a lock, the camera is priced at $120. Amazon is currently limiting the Key service to areas where its own team handles deliveries. Hence, it will only available in 37 cities across the US for now. At launch, over 10 million items are compatible with Amazon Key, basically, anything that isn’t too bulky for this process.