By Jesse Ocean  |   5th December 17


Should You Let Amazon In? A Quick Look at Amazon Key

For a company that started as nothing more than an online bookstore, Amazon has grown into a behemoth that can provide almost anything you might need.

Their newest foray into offering everything under the sun is a service called Amazon Key. A very new and unique offering, many are quite excited about the idea.

The question is, should you be?

What is Amazon Key?

Amazon Key allows the delivery person to deliver your package inside your home, rather than just to your front porch or mailbox. They don’t need a key or for you to be home, and it takes away the opportunity for thieves to take your package.

How does it work?

For approximately $250, you purchase a camera and a special lock. Everything is installed by the company itself, with the camera going inside your home near the front door and the lock on the door itself.

When you place an order and opt for in-home delivery, the delivery person will scan your package when they arrive at your home. Assuming this all checks out, that scan will provide the delivery person with a prompt to be able to unlock your door. They’ll knock first, then open the door, place the package inside, close and re-lock the door.

Delivery people are instructed not to enter the home, or even open the door, any more than is absolutely necessary in order to deliver the package. The camera means that you can see in real time, or in a video clip after the fact, exactly what took place when your package was delivered.

Right now, Amazon are only trusting their own delivery staff with the service, and limiting the service area. However, they are also touting the fact that you can use it with your dog walker, housekeeper, or temporary houseguests.

There seems to be no shortage of benefits to the product.

Are there any drawbacks?

It is important to consider possible negative consequences. Consider the following:

Is the system hackable?: How responsible are the delivery people?: What happens if the system isn’t working? 

• Is the system hackable?: The camera uses your home Wi-Fi, and since there’s an app that the delivery person uses to unlock the lock, it seems reasonable to think that it may be possible to hack the system. The consequences of hacking the system could include the invasion of your privacy by anyone activating the camera. Or the complete loss of all your possessions if they access the lock and rob you.

• How responsible are the delivery people?: They’ll knock before they unlock and open the door. One of the reasons, per the advertising, is “to make sure you don’t have a big angry dog.” What if you have a cute little cat that loves to be Houdini? Or a big dog that isn’t angry, but is big enough to push past the delivery person? You may have to consider the idea of putting your pet in a closed room, kennel or backyard, whenever you’re expecting a delivery. But if you don’t, and your pet escapes, will the company accept responsibility?

• What happens if the system isn’t working?: Whether it’s a system failure because a component is messed up or broken, or a power outage at your home, will your home still be secure? Can your package still be delivered, or will they have to reschedule or simply leave it on your porch?

Amazon Key provides a unique benefit and a lot of great features. Whether you should trust it depends on your comfort level. How connected do you want to be?

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