As if its line of Echo, Alexa and Dash devices wasn't pervasive enough, Amazon has developed another gadget designed to infiltrate the home: Amazon Key, which via a connected security camera and smart lock can enable couriers to leave packages inside your home.

The technology is designed to address concerns that packages can go missing after they are delivered. With Amazon Key installed, the courier scans the package's bar code which sends an access request to Amazon's cloud. When Amazon grants permission, the camera set up inside the home starts recording and the door unlocks. The courier can then leave a package just inside the door, and lock up afterwards.

Bloomberg News

The recipient gets a notification that the delivery has been made, along with a video of the drop-off for reassurance that the courier acted correctly.

Though the service is designed to work with all Amazon Prime packages, it gives Amazon better footing to take on the grocery market, where the timeliness of deliveries are key. Rivals such as Target and Walmart have been formulating various responses to the encroachment of Amazon, including the concept of Walmart having its own cashiers delivering goods to customers on their commute home and Target’s pact with Google to facilitate voice ordering via Google Home voice assistants.

Amazon Key may address a longstanding fear about home deliveries, but it also pushes the limits of consumer trust and privacy — at some point there will be a line crossed where convenience is not worth the tradeoff.

It also comes at a fairly significant price tag — a smart lock, Amazon Cloud Cam and installation costs $250. However, there may be additional services that can be enabled, such as allowing entry of pet sitters and AirBnB guests, making the outlay more viable given the multiple use cases.

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Nick Holland

Nick Holland

Nick Holland is a Senior Analyst at PaymentsSource. He has previously held analyst roles at Javelin Strategy & Research, Yankee Group and Aite Group.