Right on the heels of Walmart’s September announcement of an in-home grocery delivery service being tested in New York City, Amazon has come out with its own offering allowing drivers to enter homes and drop off items under the watchful eye of a new Amazon smart connected camera – all tied to Alexa.
Amazon Key, coming Nov. 8 to 37 metropolitan areas, is available to Prime members and provides access to tens of millions of Amazon.com items. Customers can choose same-day, one-day, two-day or standard shipping, selecting “in-home” at checkout.
Once Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address and at the right time through an encrypted authentication process, Amazon’s new Cloud Cam starts recording and the smart-lock door is unlocked. No access codes or keys are provided to delivery drivers.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, Vice President of Delivery Technology for Amazon in a release. “Now Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
Cloud Cam starts at $119.99 and goes up to $249.99 for Prime members if paired with Key as part of a larger in-home kit, which also includes a smart lock from Yale or Kwikset.
“Cloud Cam has all the features you need to monitor your home, including a 1080p full HD camera, night vision, two-way audio and free storage for clips,” said Charlie Tritschler, Vice President, Amazon Devices, in the release. “And with the secure AWS cloud powering Cloud Cam’s advanced computer algorithms and intelligent alerts, the service is always getting smarter.”
Beyond the in-home delivery option, Amazon Key offers keyless access for family and friends. Customers can set the frequency and length of time someone has access, and add or remove contacts. Soon it will also provide access to 1,200 professional services in 60 professions through Amazon Home Services. It won’t, however, prepare your taxes or take out the trash – yet.
MCM Musings: Amazon Key goes hand-in-glove with the company’s broader ambition of owning the smart home sector, while also adding the convenience of at-home delivery – via Prime Now or slower options – when customers are out. While there have been privacy concerns raised about the Amazon Look, an Alexa-connected camera introduced this summer, as well as Alexa itself, it’s clearly an area that will continue to explode as the Internet of Things powers more and more smart connected devices and appliances. Time will tell how quickly consumers en masse get over the initial “creepiness factor” of someone entering their dwelling when they’re out – be it an Amazon or Walmart delivery, with others sure to follow – even if it is monitored live and streamed to your phone. But as in so many other areas of commerce in general, convenience eventually wins the day.