Amazon Key: Survey suggests Prime subscribers don’t want delivery drivers to come into their home
Amazon caused a stir when it unveiled the Amazon Key service – combining a smart lock with a cloud-connected camera to let delivery drivers open your front door and drop off packages.
A recent survey by Recode, however, suggest that Prime subscribers aren’t that keen on the thought of strangers opening their locked doors. A SurveyMonkey poll conducted by the site of 7,566 American adults found that 58% said they would ‘definitely not buy’ Amazon Key. In fact, only 5% said they definitely would buy the service.
As the site notes, people may have similarly balked at the idea of letting strangers stay at their home for holidays – but then Airbnb came along. So it may be the case that people’s initial thoughts on the matter don’t match with their eventual actions. That said, it still goes some way to show that many consider Amazon Key to be on the creepy side of intrusive technology.
What is Amazon Key?
Amazon’s new product will let couriers unlock your front door and slip packages into your home.
The smart lock and security camera combo – tied together in a service called Amazon Key – is arranged to make it possible for Amazon’s deliverers to open your door. It’s the latest move for a company that has recently made a big push into deliveries for clothing and food, and continues to experiment with lockers and drone deliveries.
Pay $249.99 (roughly £189) and Amazon will come around and install a smart lock along with the company’s new Cloud Cam. This cloud-controlled camera, which comes with night vision and two-way audio, is the brains of the operation – allowing customers to remotely watch their front doors being opened.
With Amazon Key, a courier will knock on your door. If no one answers, they will “unlock” your home via an app. The Cloud Cam will record them as they drop off the delivery, while sensors in the door and app will make sure they close it behind them. The courier won’t be authorised to proceed on their next delivery until they’ve left and locked the door.
Amazon is keen to impress that it’s serious about a future where couriers can walk into your home. “This is not an experiment for us,” said Peter Larsen, Amazon vice president of delivery technology, according to Reuters. “This is a core part of the Amazon shopping experience from this point forward.”
The Cloud Cam is also being pitched as a standalone security device, with motion detection that learns over time what should and shouldn’t be in your house. That means footage will be regularly analysed over the cloud, to detect things like pet dogs that shouldn’t be flagged as intruders.
“With intelligence that lives in the AWS cloud, over time you will see more advanced detection, alerts, and other new features become available in the service and on the camera itself, such as advanced audio alerts or pet detection, without having to purchase a new device,” Amazon explains.
Even without the ability to open your front door, how comfortable will users be with Amazon watching and analysing their homes? Given the popularity of Amazon Echo devices, it seems people aren’t too fussy about having corporate-owned ears in their kitchens, but what about a pair of cloud-based eyes or a virtual hand on your front door?
Is Amazon Key available in the UK?
Not yet. Amazon Key is only available so far in 37 cities across the US, but the company has said it wants to expand the service in the future.