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Creepy? Cool? Both? Here’s What You Need To Know About Amazon Key

Tech

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The tech giant is revolutionizing the traditional “key under the mat” concept via the cloud with its latest service rolling out in November.

As technology advances, the tradeoff between convenience and access to our personal data is constantly in play. Amazon is now taking this notion to a whole new level, asking for perhaps the most trust requested by a company to date: access inside your house.

Amazon Key is a subscription service, launching Nov. 8, that requires a Prime account as well as an “In-Home Kit” that comes with a new security camera called the Cloud Cam and a compatible smartlock. The price tag? Less than you might think: $249.99. If you choose to opt-in, and once your system is fully set up, you’ll be given the choice with each Amazon order to choose in-home delivery.

Here’s the futuristic workflow you can expect as an Amazon Key subscriber:

  1. When the courier arrives, the barcode of the parcel is scanned, which triggers a request to Amazon’s cloud.
  2. Once the request is approved, the cloud then syncs with the camera, which commences recording.
  3. The courier is prompted, via their app, to swipe their screen and unlock your door. 
  4. The courier then drops off the package inside the doorway and relocks the door with another swipe of their screen.
  5. Finally, the customer is notified of their delivery and they are provided the video footage of the full delivery.

In a press release, Amazon reiterates that “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.” Since no access codes or keys are provided to couriers, Amazon maintains that the service is secure.

Further, The Verge adds that couriers are to either ring the doorbell or knock first so anyone that may be home is aware someone is at the door. They are also supposed to open the door only to the amount needed to get the package inside and are not to enter the home unless unique circumstances require them to do so.

At this time, no third-party delivery services will be used for dropoffs, as Amazon knows this could pose a potential risk to customers. For this reason, Amazon Key, at least upon initial launch, is limited to the 37 U.S. cities where Amazon Logistics fulfills deliveries. The company has expressed hopes of expanding this in the future, but this, of course, will hinge upon how consumers take to the new delivery model.

For those not opposed to the solution, though the vast majority seem skeptical at this point based on Twitter conversations, Amazon is also pairing its Home Services division with the Key, allowing customers to let in house cleaners or dog walkers when they’re away. Down the road, the company has claimed this idea will be expanded further, specifically via integration of the Key with over 1,200 service providers spanning 60 professions.

Would you let Amazon unlock your door? Let us know your reactions in the comments.

Cover image via The Seattle Times.

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