When was the last time you ordered something online? If you’re like me, it was this morning. And yesterday. And at least twice last week. Okay, maybe I have a problem, but I’m not the only one!
Around 25 percent of homeowners receive a package at least once a week. Even more receive one at least once a month. That number would be even larger if so many people weren’t worried about their packages being stolen. Over 40 percent of people say they avoid certain online purchases because they worry about package theft.
What’s so sad is the fact that we should be worried about package theft. One particular study found that over 30 percent of people surveyed have personally experienced package theft.
That’s a lot of packages.
If only you could have someone at home all the time to accept those packages so they don’t end up sitting outside on your front step, enticing thieves to come in for a closer look.
Well, Amazon has come up with the next best thing, and they call it Amazon Key.
What is Amazon Key?
Amazon Key is a delivery service that’s provided by Amazon. Instead of the delivery driver leaving your package on your doorstep, they actually drop it off inside your home. No one has to be there to answer the door either.
You purchase a special smart lock and the Cloud Cam Key Edition in-home camera. Delivery drivers are then able to gain access to your home through a delivery app.
That sounds a little scary. Can’t the delivery driver just waltz into my home whenever he or she wants? If they decide they’re ready for a break, can’t they just welcome themselves into my kitchen for a snack? After the door has been unlocked, can’t potential thieves enter my home after the delivery driver leaves?
Amazon has thought about all of these possibilities already. First, the driver can only enter a home if it matches the order they have been given. They are granted one-time access to your home to drop off the package. Only when the package matches the right home will they be allowed inside.
The instant this code is used, the camera starts rolling. It sends a notification to your phone so you know your package is being dropped off, and you can even watch the delivery driver enter and exit your home in real time. That gives you peace of mind, but it also deters any shady drivers from overstaying their welcome.
What about the possibility of other people gaining access to your home?
The delivery driver will not receive their next delivery until they’ve closed and locked the door properly, at which time the security code they used to enter your home will expire.
This technology is great for having packages delivered, but it can come in handy in other situations too. Once you purchase the smart lock, you can provide codes to friends and family members. That’s really convenient if your Great Aunt is staying for the week or if the kids can’t ever seem to remember their keys.
All that sounds pretty cool to me. I’d love to never have to worry about my package getting stolen or rained on again. But, as is the case with any new bit of technology, there are some drawbacks.
First, you have to consider the cost. Delivery drivers deliver packages for free. Or, the cost of delivery is included in your purchase price. Not all Amazon customers receive Amazon Key. You have to pay for it, and it ain’t cheap.
Buying the lock and the camera will cost anywhere between $289 and $389, depending on which lock you choose. Fortunately, costs end there. Once you purchase the equipment, the option for Amazon Key will show up in your list of choices when you order something from them online in the future.
There are a few kinks you could run into. If you have a dog, your package may not get dropped off inside. Delivery drivers are instructed not to open the door if they hear a barking dog, so Fido will have to hang out in a kennel or in the backyard if you’re expecting a package. You’ll want to be mindful of your cat too. You shouldn’t count on the delivery driver to chase Fluffy down the block if he bolts for the door as soon as it is opened.
Do you have a home security system? If you do, you’ve got another problem — Amazon Key can’t deactivate your home security system. If it’s on when the delivery driver arrives, they’ll have to leave your package on your doorstep the old-fashioned way. Or, you’ll have to remember to deactivate your system when you expect a package. It sure seems ironic that you would have to deactivate your home alarm system just so a stranger can enter your home…
Not all packages will qualify either. If the box is too big and bulky, they will not drop it off inside the door.
Do or do not give Amazon key a try, that is the question
Even with the drawbacks, it’s a pretty cool service. You may be willing to give it a try, but not so fast! It isn’t available to everyone quite yet.
Amazon Key is only available in areas where Amazon Logistics handles drop-offs. Amazon doesn’t currently trust other delivery professionals to enter their customers’ homes. That’s a good thing, but it does mean that you may not be able to try Amazon Key right now even if you want to.
Personally, I think I’m going to wait. I’d like to wait to see just how big of a success it turns out to be. I want to see if it’s popular enough to offer all over the United States, and I want to see if they’re going to do anything about the home security system issue. But, if they work out all the kinks, I’ll definitely jump on the bandwagon. I’ll just have to make sure the dog is in the back room before I leave for work.