Today, Amazon announced yet another way for Prime members to get their packages. The new Amazon Key system allows delivery personnel to drop off packages inside Prime members’ homes, providing “secure home access” when the homeowner is not available. Amazon Key works in two parts: choosing in-home delivery while checking out on Amazon and providing access to your home through Amazon’s new Key in-home kit, which includes a smart lock provided by Kwikset or Yale and a special version of the company’s new Cloud Cam security camera.
The old-school method of leaving a key underneath your doormat is inconvenient and often anxiety-inducing, so Amazon believes its new lock-and-camera system will make accessing your home when you’re not around more secure. Prime members can purchase the Key edition of the Cloud Cam and a smart lock for a total of $249, and they can have it installed for free. With the lock on your door and the indoor security camera monitoring the doorway, the in-home kit can allow authorized people into your home.
Amazon delivery employees aren’t given a passcode to enter the home; rather they request access into the home, and Amazon’s records verify that the employee is at the right address at the right time. All of this is done through an encryption process, and once the process is complete, the Cloud Cam begins recording, and the door is unlocked for the employee to enter. Customers can stay on top of in-home deliveries with real-time alerts and by watching the video of the delivery either in real time or after it’s completed.
While Amazon can direct its delivery employees to enter a home, the homeowner can control who else can come in when they aren’t around. You can give friends or family temporary, recurring, or permanent access to your home and also allow other service employees, such as dog walkers, cleaners, and others, into the home on certain dates and times.
This system is another way Amazon is making it easier for customers to receive packages quickly and securely. Amazon recently announced Hub, a locker-like system for apartment complexes, that provides another kind of secure package delivery that doesn’t require giving a stranger access to your home. Amazon Key seems ideal for customers who are out most of the day and cannot be home to accept packages or those who often experience package theft. However, the Amazon Key hardware is the literal key to this service—if you live in an apartment or another rented space in which you don’t have the power to change the locks on a whim, you may not be able to use it at all.
The startup cost to use the otherwise free in-home delivery system may dissuade some users. $249 is a reasonable price for a 1080p smart home security camera with night vision and the accompanying smart lock (which includes a keypad and traditional keyhole). However, the added upfront cost may stop some from initially embracing Amazon Key. Amazon is also selling a $119 version of the Cloud Cam that’s not Key-enabled (and doesn’t include the smart lock), for those looking for another smart home security camera option.
Amazon Key will launch on November 8 in 37 cities around the US and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day, and Standard Shipping orders. Prime customers can input their ZIP code on the Amazon Key in-home kit product page to see if they live in a supported area and preorder the Key hardware kit.