Amazon.com introduced on Wednesday their latest smart home product, the Amazon Key. It acts as a home security system exclusive for Prime members, which allows delivery drivers to enter your home securely and leave your package inside. It costs $249.99 for an in-home kit that includes a Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock.
The system itself seems simple enough, but the compromises that it entails are what people might worry about down the line. Amazon plans to enable the Key system so it can work with more than 1,200 partners of the Amazon Home Services program, which includes dog walking, house cleaning, and more.
As it stands, the Amazon Key looks like a strong first step toward an even more pervasive Amazon presence in your home. For now, it works with third-party locks, but it won’t take long for rivals like Nest to introduce smart locks of their own that complete their security offerings and for Amazon to respond in kind.
How does Amazon Key work?
The Amazon Key In-Home Kit is made up of an Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) and a compatible smart lock by Yale or Kwikset. There are currently three compatible models available and they fit most doors.
The whole system starts up when you make a purchase or place an order on Amazon and, at checkout, you choose “FREE in-home delivery.” If Amazon detects you’re also a Key owner, it will set in motion a series of notifications to make sure your package is delivered safely to your home.
On delivery day, people will receive a notification up to four hours prior to the estimated delivery time to let them know their package is coming. Once the delivery man is at the door, they will scan the barcode of your package to gain access to your house.
The scanning action acts as a request to Amazon, which also triggers the Cloud Cam so it starts recording the drop-off. Once the driver receives the all-clear on the Key app on his phone, all he needs to do is swipe to open your door, leave the package, and swipe again to lock it back. The Cam will record the whole thing.
Me, greeting an Amazon Key courier pic.twitter.com/ZYBhv0AV3K
— Alex Zalben (@azalben) October 25, 2017
Your existing Cloud Cam won’t work with Amazon Key
A small caveat some people might have, and particularly those who already own Amazon Cloud Cams, is that they won’t work with the new Key kit. Contrary to what many people are saying, the camera in question has to be the Key Edition which costs $139.99, a full $20 more than the standard device.
Moreover, the company has yet to clarify if someone with one of the compatible smart lock models will only need to buy the Cloud Cam or if he needs to buy the whole kit anyway. Oh, and if you already have a full-on security system and you want to opt for the Key, you need to disable it on delivery day.