Would You Give Amazon the Key to Your Home?

Amazon has introduced a new service to add to the many its Prime consumers enjoy. Twelve years ago, Amazon launched its Prime premium membership. Prime customers can get same-day delivery on almost everything available on the site and selected items the same day. Amazon has been adding more and more options to attract new Prime members.

The company just announced the new “Amazon Key” service, which will make delivery easier for customers who are not home and need their packages to be delivered securely. This new service allows couriers to drop off your delivery in your home. Prime members can now buy Amazon’s Key In-Home-Kit, which includes the Amazon Cloud Camera and a compatible smart lock. The service relies on a cloud camera that connects to home Wi-Fi and communicates with the smart lock over a wireless protocol used in many other smart gadgets.

The system is very simple. At the time when a courier arrives at customer’s door, they will send a request to Amazon’s cloud by scanning a barcode. The cloud then sends a request to the camera which starts recording the courier and if everything goes as planned, the courier gets a prompt and simply swipes the screen to open the door. After dropping off the packages, the customer receives a notice that the delivery was completed and to make sure that customer feels secure, Amazon also sends them a short video showing the courier dropping off the packages. Users are able to archive recorded delivery videos if they wish.

After releasing the popular Alexa, Amazon is pushing further into the smart home space. The new device will be integrated with Alexa, so if you are upstairs or in the basement, you have the option to ask Alexa to show you who is at the front door. This device can also be used to let family and friends into your house instead of hiding keys around when you’re not home, as well as allowing entry to home cleaners, dog walkers, or pet sitters.

However, some customers might not trust this new system’s security. At first Amazon, will use only their trusted delivery service and couriers will be available in 37 cities across the U.S. Amazon Key users will be able to grant access to their family members and trusted friends. The Key is a big step and great test for Amazon. The question is whether consumers who have trusted Amazon with their shopping habits and preferences, personal information, and have allowed a listening device into their home will go the extra step of allowing Amazon entry to their front door. The new service got the Internet talking – social media analytics firm Talkwalker reported that 62,000 overnight tweets mentioned the Amazon Key. Some Twitter followers didn’t seem to be too enthused about the concept:

Currently, the company has around 85 million prime members. Time will tell how many of them will install this new device on their front door in the name of greater convenience, at the cost of giving up a lot of privacy to Amazon. There are some unanswered questions when it comes to this service – namely, how secure is the smart door lock? What protections has Amazon taken against hackers, and could these cloud-connected devices be used in a DDoS attack, as many other Internet of Things gadgets have in the past?

Social media analytics data and Tweets provided by social media analytics firm Talkwalker.

Read more about the Amazon Key at The Verge.

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