Amazon wants access to its customers’ homes so it can better deliver packages, after announcing a new service Wednesday called Amazon Key.
The massive tech conglomerate is now offering a lock and camera system that lets users remotely monitor their homes and decide whether to permit entry to a package-carrying courier.
Customers must install the “Cloud Cam” camera (sold individually for $119.99), and a proprietary, synced smart lock on their door of choice (sold together for $249.99). Once a courier arrives, they are then able to unlock the door, and drop off the package. The camera records the whole time, to ensure peace of mind, and that the employee (or anyone else) doesn’t make his or herself at home.
“This is not an experiment for us,” Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president of delivery technology, told Reuters. “This is a core part of the Amazon shopping experience from this point forward.”
Amazon clearly wants to expand its distribution infrastructure, as it has been testing drone delivery technology and filed patents for flying warehouses known as “airborne fulfillment centers” (AFC), and the development of trains, planes and boats to dock drones. The AFCs would hold ready-to-deploy drones as well, but would also be stocked with products ready for highly-expedited shipping.
And Amazon Key isn’t meant just for distribution of parcels — it will also empower people to let recurring visitors in, like house cleaners and pet sitters, some of whom are part of Amazon Home Services, its official customer resource for such facilities. Amazon also wants the technology to be used for more casual instances, like letting in friends, family, or out-of-town guests.
While there appear to be several potential downfalls to the service, like would-be thieves disguised as official Amazon deliverers, the company seems to consider at least some of them. It is, for now, only trusting its own in-house (pun intended) delivery team to manage the process, which is why Amazon Key is set to launch Nov. 8 in only a select amount of cities (37) across the U.S. It is also only available for Prime customers.
The rollout of the new feature is a telling move.
Once a relatively simple e-commerce service, Amazon has grown into a company with a stake in several industries, like show and film production, cloud computing technology, both brick and mortar and delivery services for groceries, and electronics. (RELATED: Amazon Wants To Be Your Drug Dealer)
Now, with Amazon Key, the corporation is growing its already well-established supply chain and distribution capabilities, and further developing its advanced device portfolio.
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