Amazon Key

It has been interesting to see all of the negative comments and fear from people regarding Amazon’s launch of Amazon Key. In case you missed it, a combination of a smart lock and streaming camera allow an Amazon delivery person to unlock the door on your home to put a package inside if you have Prime and selected the option for ‘inside delivery’ at checkout.

The fears and negative comments online seem to fall into two camps:

  1. Amazon is taking over the world — First they wanted us to order everything from them and now they want to listen and watch our conversations in our home (via Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Show) and now they want us to give up any sense of privacy by allowing a stranger to have access to our home.
  2. Fear of Being Killed by an Intruder-We lock our doors and windows at night, turn on home alarms when we leave and in some instances watch live video feeds from our home when motion is detected. So, why would we want to offset all of those safety precautions by allowing a stranger to bypass the security measures and enter our home?

I think the concerns and fears are valid. I don’t think a lot of Prime customers will allow unrestricted access to the front doors of their homes, but I do see us allowing Amazon drivers to access other secured areas in or near or homes to leave packages behind.

Drive down any street in the U.S. during the day and you will see porches and doorways of homes littered with Amazon boxes. Those boxes might contain toiletry items, dog food or even high priced electronics. To thieves, the potential bounty outweighs any fear of getting caught by a homeowner. Even though products like Ring video doorbell and Nest streaming cam have helped homeowners ‘watch someone steal their Amazon packages’, it does not stop the actual theft from happening.

So, I think the Amazon Key will start to make its way into other secured areas in or near homes to prevent these package thefts. There are two ways I see this happening in the future:

  1. Secured lock boxes — on Amazon and other sites you can already buy oversized secure delivery boxes . Yet only smaller packages/boxes can usually be fit it the opening by a delivery person and it requires the homeowner to have a key to open the box. By adding a smart lock and Amazon camera to these boxes, an Amazon delivery person could open the box and put in packages. The customer would receive a notification that a package was delivered and see the video footage of the package being put in the box.
  2. Secured areas of homes outside of living spaces — For a home, this could be a secured vestibule entry or access to a garage door while for a condo this could mean access to a storage closet for packages.

Yes, it is true Amazon is taking over the world of commerce and it is also true we continue to be asked to give up more privacy in exchange for convenience and peace of mind. The consumer is still in control of the safety of their living space, though, and it is important that we never give that up. With secured boxes and secured non-living space areas I think we can have convenience and personal security.

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