In a glimpse of what technology can do to address common complaints from customers, Amazon has revealed that it is offering its customers a lock and camera system called Amazon Key to let their delivery associates leave packages inside their homes, instead of leaving them outside the door. This is specifically for customers who cannot be present at the time of delivery of the packages and they do not want it to be pilfered from outside their house.
The way the system will work is that the delivery associate will ring the bell or knock and wait till someone opens to door to receive the package. If no one answers the associate presses the â€˜unlockâ€™ button on a mobile app. This lets Amazon check if the right person with the correct package is at the door and the pre-installed camera then streams a live video to the customerâ€™s mobile.
As the customer watches, the delivery associate opens the door and enters the house keeps the package and locks the door from outside. Only after this locking is done he or she can proceed to the next delivery point. The customer has to pay a one-time fee of $249.99 to Amazon to get the camera and lock fixed at the door. The devices are cloud-controlled.
Once the lock is in place, customers can share the passcodes with their friends or other service providers who can come in and attend to urgent work or effect a delivery when they are out.
Amazon is trying to gain orders from that section of buyers on its site who have these genuine difficulties of not being around, but still would want to order. In such rare cases where customers complain of any theft due to this new arrangement, Amazon will reimburse the customers.
But it is still not certain how many people go ahead and sign up for Amazon Key. According to some experts, most people have reservations in sharing or relinquishing the control of entry into their homes to unknown delivery associates.
Amazon Key is being launched in the US on November 8 and 37 locations will get the facility to start with.
There are other players with similar schemes, like Wal-Mart, which has tied up with August Home, a smart lock company and is offering to deliver stuff and even place them inside the customersâ€™ fridges, directly.
Within the home security space, Google has its Nest Labs (part of Alphabet Inc), working on latest technologies.