Amazon employees won’t be knocking on doors for much longer. They'll soon have a key of their own.
The online retailer announced a new service Wednesday that allows Amazon workers to literally unlock your door to drop off a package, even when you’re not there. It has drawn both criticism and praise since it was first announced.
The service, called Amazon Key, will roll out in 27 cities starting next month, including Salt Lake City. It’s only available for Amazon Prime members, according to a company statement.
“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,” Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon, said in a statement. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
Interested parties must also buy a $250 installation kit and have “a degree of trust in granting delivery drivers access to your home,” according to The Chicago Tribune.
The kit includes a video camera and smart lock. Customers can keep track of their packages through an Amazon Key app, which sends out real-time notifications of when a courier arrives. The camera will show customers when their package arrives and record their courier in the home.
Here’s how it works: Couriers will arrive at your home with a package, scan the barcode against the installed smart lock, which makes a request to the Amazon cloud for access to the home, according to The Verge.
Couriers will then drop off the package, relock the door and will send a notification to the customer that the product has been delivered.
Amazon said the key service isn’t compatible with any alarm systems, which should be turned off if deliveries are expected. Free-roaming pets may also cause problems.
“We do not recommend using in-home delivery if your pet can access the front door on delivery day,” the company said, according to The Chicago Tribune.
As The Verge explained, Amazon is aware the new service may not win over people so quickly since it allows a stranger to enter your home.
The company hopes its camera function will help quell those fears since people have a record of the courier’s encounter with their home.
“Amazon Key feels like a major test of how thoroughly the company has earned customers’ trust, and a harbinger of a future where tech companies mediate every aspect of our lives,” according to The Verge.
Not all thoughts for the new device are positive. The Washington Post’s Christine Emba labeled the device as “Silicon Valley at its most out-of-touch,” saying that Amazon focused its attention on convenience rather than home security, something that might be more important to most customers.
“Amazon Key is perhaps the most outre example of this phenomenon yet,” Emba wrote. “Yes, I do value convenient deliveries, but I value my security more — better to strategize around postal schedules than be assaulted by a person hiding in one’s home! And while I dislike rained-upon packages, I prioritize privacy enough that I’m loath to install a corporate-controlled surveillance apparatus inside my house.”
She said she hopes Silicon Valley soon learns that people want more than just convenience.