Amazon has announced a new service: Amazon Key.
As the tech giant expands its line of smart-home products, this new service will allow Amazon Prime members to unlock their front door remotely, when not at home. The aim is to allow couriers – and eventually other professionals such as cleaners, sitters, dog walkers, etc – to do their jobs even when residents are busy elsewhere.
The $249.99 (€212) kit includes an Amazon Cloud Cam for monitoring and a smart lock to be installed at the front door which can be locked or unlocked from a distance through an app. Installation services are also provided by the company.
Amazon Key is now available for e-shoppers in 37 US cities and can be used for 10 million products.
While the new service is an attempt to tackle one of the biggest inconveniences of online shopping, it raises obvious security questions.
Many might feel uncomfortable with letting strangers into their homes or by having a remotely accessible device control the front door, as social media users have shown.
OH BOY! AMAZON KEY WILL ALLOW AMAZON DELIVERY PEOPLE TO UNLOCK MY DOOR WHEN DELIVERING PACKAGES?! pic.twitter.com/6tDj3akOLw— 『 Daitomodachi』 (@daitomodachi6) October 25, 2017
BREAKING: Amazon package theives rush to apply for jobs in Amazon delivery https://t.co/U0IKnGvkSV— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) October 25, 2017
However, experts such as Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, believe that the company is aware of these issues and that customer trust can be strengthened over time.
“Amazon is one of the most trusted consumer brands, so I believe over time, with an electronic lock and camera, consumers will become more comfortable,” Moorhead told NBC news.
“Amazon will have to address those inevitable privacy concerns consumers have over time,” Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight told NBC News. “But I think it is the first step for something that — in years to come — we will see as perfectly normal.”