Among its sundry conveniences, Amazon's empire includes a futuristic grocery store, your favorite takeout restaurants, and technology that even imparts fashion advice. But with its newest feature, the e-commerce giant's influence over our daily lives is literally sending strangers to your living room in an effort to make home delivery more seamless and efficient. (The future is here!).
Amazon Key, a new service available to Prime members, seeks to radically improve home delivery by letting couriers deliver packages inside your home, even when you're not there. The process, which is pretty similar to a recent Walmart initiative, works like this: Through a connected smart lock, Amazon employees scan the barcode of your package to open your front door. Amazon uses "an encrypted authentication process" to verify the address after sending the barcode to its servers. Once your door swings open, a connected camera starts documenting the delivery live.
If you're extra paranoid, customers can watch the deliveries unfold live on the Amazon Key app, ensuring nothing nefarious goes down. If you don't tune-in live, you'll receive a notification that everything went according to plan, along with a video of the delivery you can watch for your own anxiety-laden review. And yes, Amazon says it will lock your door again once it leaves.
And it isn't just couriers: Amazon Key will also allow you to remotely grant permission to anyone to enter your home through the app, which will be convenient when your forgetful friends leave their phones at your place. Third party delivery people, such as UPS or FedEx, won't be granted access, either.
The option is only available to Prime members who buy an Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which retails for $250. The Kits include various smart lock models manufactured by Yale and Kwikset and Amazon's new Cloud Cam, "an intelligent security camera" that's compatible with Alexa and retails for $120 as a standalone piece of hardware. The price of installation is included, so you can equip your home with all of the necessary Amazon Key features for one flat fee, and ostensibly trip over packages when you get home from work.
Amazon Key will become available in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the United States on November 8, with more locations rolling out over time. In the meantime, get ready to welcome more strangers into your living room than you probably ever hoped for.