What Is Amazon Key? Here's What You Need To Know About The Service People Are Calling "Creepy"


Amazon is all about getting to the next level these days. The massive tech and home delivery company recently announced a new service that would ostensibly help to prevent potential package theft. So what is Amazon Key? The concept is geared towards helping people keep their packages safe, but the execution of the new delivery system has plenty of people scratching their heads.

Ever since Amazon Prime, the subscription home delivery service that offers two-day free shipping throughout the United States, was launched 12 years ago, Amazon has been trying to come up with new ways to ensure packages are delivered safely to their customers. Amazon has offered drop-off lockers at convenience stores and in apartment building lobbies in the past (called The Hub locker delivery system), because people aren't always at home during delivery hours and there was concern that packages left on door steps could be stolen. Enter Amazon Key, a home delivery service that allows Amazon couriers to unlock the front door and leave the package just inside. Amazon Key would rely on a customer using a smart lock which would be compatible with Amazon's new Cloud Cam. Which means that couriers would be able to unlock your front door if you're not home. And not everyone is loving this idea.

Romper has reached out to Amazon and is awaiting a reply.

So here is how Amazon Key works in a nutshell; a courier brings a package to your door for in-home delivery. The courier scans the bar code, and the entry request is then sent to Amazon's cloud. Once the request to enter has been approved, the Amazon Cloud Cam begins to record what is happening, then communicates with your smart lock via your home wifi. Once the courier receives the green light, they can swipe their screen, which will unlock the door. Once the package has been delivered, the customer will receive a notification along with a short video where they can confirm the courier left their package at the door (or snuck into the kitchen to eat that leftover pizza you were saving for yourself, either way).

Naturally, the concept of a stranger being able to unlock your front door has people a little concerned.

Customers with pets are justifiably concerned that the service could see their pets escaping into the street, which could be why Amazon has recommended that pet owners don't sign up for Amazon Key. Or, if you do have pets and would like to use the service, Amazon also suggested using a gate to block them off from the door. I'm pretty sure the couriers would appreciate this too, considering the possible biting hazard from dogs trying to protect their domain.

So how safe will Amazon Key actually be? According to Inside.com CEO Jason Calacanis, who spoke to CNBC about Amazon Key on Wednesday, safer than one might think.

Calacanis noted that new services like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft were initially looked at as being unsafe, but their convenience "outweighed security concerns." Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft offer customers the opportunity to rate their drivers. Amazon Key sends customers a short video of the home delivery, which allows them to track the courier's progress. As Canacanis told CNBC:

Amazon Key also comes with a "Happiness Guarantee," that reads in part:

Sure, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. But for customers who are willing to take that first step, Amazon Key will be available on Nov. 8 in 37 cities across the United States. To get started, you need to be an Amazon Prime member, and you need to purchase a Key-in-Home kit (which will include a smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam) for $249.99. Users can either install the new system themselves, or ask for an Amazon-provided professional to install for free.