Last night, I did what thousands of other exhausted mothers across America did after they tucked their children in for the eighth time: I got on my phone and ordered a ton of stuff from Amazon Prime.
From essentials to non-essentials to really non-essentials (i.e., never go online shopping late at night), we are all beholden to the lightning-fast convenience that is Amazon. It's to the point where I've wondered if Amazon is secretly plotting to take over the world. Now there's one more piece of evidence in support of that permise, with the company's latest announcement that they will now be offering delivery inside of your home.
When you're not there, that is.
In an attempt to cut down on theft, deliveries that get damaged or lost when left outside and to support their customers' peace of mind, starting on November 8, Amazon is rolling a service called Amazon Key that allows Amazon delivery personnel to gain access to a customer's home through Amazon Cloud, in order to place Amazon purchases directly inside their house.
First, a customer has to purchase a special Amazon Smart Lock and Amazon Cloud Cam (also available November 8), which is installed for free by an Amazon technician so that it monitors the outside of a customer's front door. Items eligible for home delivery are marked "Amazon Key" on the site and customers are notified through the corresponding app when a package will be delivered, including the time window for delivery.
A phone notification alerts the customer when the Amazon Logistics delivery personnel has arrived (who are vetted and given background checks and specially employed only by Amazon for this program) and the customer can then watch the entire delivery go down via livestream on their phone.
So, how does it actually work? The delivery person sends a special message to the Amazon Cloud, which communicates with the Amazon Smart Lock on the customer's door, and access is granted to unlock the door via the Cloud. Then, magic! The door unlocks. If this all sounds super high tech, that's because it is.
The delivery person never actually touches the door or lock, but instead communicates with the Cloud via the Amazon Key app. Once they set the package inside, another message is sent to the Cloud to lock the door back up. And if for some reason the delivery person forgets to lock the door, the Smart Lock automatically relocks after five minutes. In and out.
Still freaked out about the thought of Amazon coming into your house? Not to worry, says Amazon. Customers are notified via text/email through the entire process, plus they can watch the entire delivery via video on their phone and cancel the entire transaction all the way up until the moment the door is unlocked.
So, if you're watching the delivery person walk up to your door and you suddenly have second thoughts about letting a stranger into your home, you can revert the delivery back to traditional drop-off outside of your door. And if for some reason something goes wrong—like your door won't lock or something else goes down—the delivery person is required to stand at the door while Amazon customer service is called.
Overall, Amazon says that the service is a response to what Amazon customers have been asking for. They are skipping a trial program and going right into the full-on service launch because that's how confident they are it will be a hit. Oh, and a similar service already exists in Sweden, which has—so far—gone off without a hitch.
The Smart Lock also lets you set up special one-time codes that you can give to people who need to get into your house or to use with some of Amazon's new Home Service programs, like dog walking and housecleaning.
Honestly, I'm pretty sure at this point, we will literally be able to have Amazon pizza delivered right to our laps without ever leaving the couch.