As it was predicted, so it has come to pass: In an effort to combat “porch pirates” who love swiping any boxes left outside, Amazon is launching a new service that allows delivery people to walk into customers’ homes to drop off packages.
Amazon Key starts Nov. 3 and is only open to Prime members. It also requires customers to first buy an Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which starts at $249.99. The kit includes the Amazon Cloud Cam (so you can watch your delivery live or in a clip later), an indoor security camera, and a compatible smart lock from either Kwikset or Yale. You can get the lock installed for free, however.
Letting The Right One In
Here’s how it works:
1. You place your order, and then on delivery day, you’ll get a notification with a four-hour delivery window for when the driver will show up.
2. Right before they get there, you’ll receive an “Arriving Now” notice on your phone, at which point you can watch the delivery live if that’s your thing.
3. Drivers will knock first, then request to unlock the door with a handheld Amazon scanner.
4. Amazon verifies that the package is where it’s supposed to be and that the driver is near the door — and not say, still in the truck — turns on the camera, and unlocks the door.
5. The driver places the package inside the door and requests to relock the door.
6. After delivery is complete and your door is relocked, you’ll get a final notification.
Just The Beginning
Amazon notes that it’s not a great idea to use this system if you have pets that have access to the front door or could be near it at the time of delivery.
The system can also be used to give friends and family or other trusted people temporary access to your home.
Amazon will be launching a professional services feature — tied to its Amazon Home Services — in the next few months as well, including home cleaning companies like Merry Maids and pet sitters and dog walkers from Rover.com.
As one might expect, some folks are skeptical about allowing strangers inside their homes when they’re not there: