NEW YORK, NY (ABC News) – Amazon announced today that it is launching a new service that allows a driver to not only drop a package off at your doorstep, but to go inside your home — even when you are not there — to make a delivery.
The tech giant’s new in-home delivery feature, Amazon Key, lets customers opt to employ an app, a camera and a smart lock to oversee when parcels are delivered inside their homes. It is set to launch in Middle Tennessee in November.
“A lot of customers would love having their packages delivered in their home even when they’re not there,” Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology, told ABC News, saying the new service comes as a response to what customers have asked for.
Amazon Key works by alerting the customer on their phone when a driver arrives at their home and scans their delivery package. Once the driver scans the package, a signal is sent to the Amazon Cloud that verifies the driver, and then the Amazon Cloud unlocks a smart lock on the customer’s front door.
Meanwhile, a camera mounted inside the customer’s home begins rolling, and customers can watch the delivery happening live or review the footage later.
The in-home delivery service will come at no additional cost for the 85 million members of Amazon’s Prime subscription service, after they purchase the Amazon Key In-Home Kit. The kit, which includes the new Amazon Cloud Cam camera and a compatible smart lock, starts at $249.99.
Larsen addressed the skepticism that many may feel about the idea of having a stranger be able to enter their homes, telling ABC News that all drivers will be “background checked.”
“Amazon is really focused on safety and security for all of our customers across the board,” Larsen said. “These drivers are the same drivers that you know and trust to deliver your Amazon packages today. They’re background checked and they are approved to deliver for Amazon.”
Larsen also acknowledged the cybersecurity concerns some customers may raise when using technology that controls access into their home, saying “all of the devices are encrypted.”
“The data traveling between the devices and the Amazon Cloud is encrypted,” he said, adding that Amazon also has an “over-the-air update system so we can update all of the devices if we need to.”
Amazon Key users also have the option to turn the smart lock off whenever they choose to, making a manual key required for entry.
In addition to delivery services, people can also use Amazon Key to remotely allow friends or family members to enter their homes without a key. Amazon also announced that it soon hopes to use the new technology to let service providers, such as maids or dog walkers, access to a home.
In a statement announcing the release of Amazon Key, Larsen added that the new service can give people “peace of mind” in knowing that their orders “are waiting for them when they walk through their doors.”
The revamped delivery service is one way online retailers are working to combat package theft, which is reportedly estimated to affect millions of Americans.
Amazon Key will become available Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities, including Nashville and Murfreesboro