Amazon has recently announced a new offering that sounds a bit unnerving, at first blush. Dubbed Amazon Key, it allows delivery couriers to unlock your front door and deliver your Prime packages right inside your house. Sounds a bit too trusting, but Amazon has actually thought this through and come up with a pretty good solution.
A Cloud Camera and Smart Lock Are at the Heart of Amazon Key
Amazon Key depends upon a cloud camera and smart lock, which the company will sell to you for US $249.99. This provides secure access to your home, and allows you to monitor when the service is invoked.
The Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition), available separately for $139.99, is an indoor security camera that you point at your front door. It offers 1080p full HD resolution, night vision, and you can store the previous 24 hours of footage for free on Amazon’s servers. The camera also includes two-way audio, so you can talk to people in range of the surveillance device and hear what they have to say.
As for the smart lock, this one isn’t Amazon-branded. Instead, Amazon Prime has teamed up with Kwikset and Yale to provide smart locks compatible with the Key service. This lock replaces your deadbolt, and can provide an exterior keypad so you can also assign access codes to family, friends, and other guests.
The Security Behind Amazon Key
When you register for Amazon Key, which is currently available only in select cities and the surrounding areas, a new option appears for your Prime shipping. Labeled “Free in-home delivery,” this is what you’ll need to select to take advantage of Amazon Key for your packages.
On the day you receive your Amazon Prime purchase, you will receive a notification that your package is out for delivery. When the courier arrives, you’ll receive another notification. Then, he or she will knock first. If you’re at home, just open the door and accept your package.
If you don’t answer the door, the driver will request access through Amazon. Once Amazon verifies the driver through an authentication process, the Cloud Cam will be turned on to record and the door will unlock. The procedure calls for the courier to simply deliver your package just inside your front door. Then, the driver will close and confirm the door is locked. You’ll receive another notification that delivery is complete.
More Uses for the Amazon Key Kit
You can also use Amazon Key’s hardware and software to do other things. For example, you can allow guests into your home if you aren’t there when they arrive. You can schedule permanent access for family members, or give temporary access to folks like dog-walkers, house cleaners, or guests from out of town.
The camera can also be used to monitor other rooms of your house. The whole kit is compatible with Amazon Alexa, so you can easily access the camera and door lock using your Echo or the Alexa app on your iPhone. If you have an Echo Show, you can even ask Alexa to show you what’s happening on a particular Cloud Cam. Unfortunately, the Cloud Cam is not HomeKit-compatible.