Amazon.com Inc. is going to start delivering packages not just to doorsteps, but inside homes as well. The new service, called Amazon Key, incorporates a smart lock fitted to a customer’s door, as well as a security camera to record the movements of the delivery person, the company said Wednesday. Doors will only be opened for delivery if the relevant driver is verified by Amazon’s system, and the driver is never given keys or codes to unlock doors manually. The service is a perk available only to Amazon’s premium Prime subscription users, and starts at $250. The In-Home Kit includes an Amazon Cloud Cam and one of several smart locks made by Yale and Kwikset. “Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement.
The service marks the latest attempt by Amazon to embed itself in people’s daily lives and make products easily attainable. Its voice-activated Echo speaker can place orders on Amazon’s web site as well as play Amazon content like music and books. Amazon has also been experimenting with a delivery service to make more products available for free two-day delivery.
Amazon Key will be available in 37 U.S. cities from Nov. 8. Amazon will also offer free installation of the kits. The security camera, dubbed Cloud Cam, will also be sold as a standalone device for $120. Much like competitor Google’s Nest Cam, it allows for remote monitoring of homes, two-way communication and web-based video recording.
Amazon Key also opens the door to future integration with in-home service providers, such as cleaners and pet sitters, in the coming months. The company intends to give home-owners the ability to let third parties enter, conduct their business, and depart with the house fastened up securely. While the work is taking place, the customer can track and talk to the hired hands using Amazon’s Cloud Cam.
Brands already signed on to enter dwellings via Amazon Key include ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc.’s Merry Maids and animal caregiver Rover.com. The Seattle, Washington-based retailer also said that customers will be able to let friends and family into homes. Using Amazon’s Key app, a pre-authorized family member can be permitted to enter a home, while the owner retains control over the frequency of entrances and the lengths of their stay.