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Amazon’s New Delivery System

Emily Chen, Staff Writer

Amazon has started testing its new delivery service, Amazon Key, in homes around Los Angeles (LA). LA is one out of only 37 cities that are testing the new program. With Amazon Key installed, Amazon deliverers can unlock and enter the homes of customers it is delivering to, in order to place their packages inside. This is mainly to eliminate the threat of “porch pirates.” Porch pirates are people who steal packages left out on doorsteps before the package’s owner can even take it inside.
Obviously, a program that allows strangers into people’s homes raises some security concerns. Amazon saw these ahead of time and put together a two-piece security system to protect the safety of its customers. The first component is Amazon’s new Cloud Cam. The Cloud Cam is installed inside the house, and records audio and video. It should be positioned near the front door, so that the camera can record deliveries. The next device in the system is a smart lock. Smart locks are not made by Amazon, but must be compatible with Amazon Key in order to be used for the service. Both devices can be monitored and controlled through an app. Buying the two products together would cost $249.99, but the installation is free.
How does this new service work? First, the deliverer scans the customer’s package. This sends a signal to Amazon’s cloud, which checks to make sure the delivery checks out. If so, the cloud sends a signal to Amazon’s Cloud Cam, telling it to begin recording. The package deliverer is then able to unlock the customer’s door using an app. After placing the package inside of the customer’s home, the door locks itself once again. Amazon’s Cloud Cam then sends a notification and a video of the delivery to the customer.
Amazon Key isn’t just for deliveries. It enables customers to lock and unlock their doors remotely, as an alternative to hiding keys under the doormat. For example, you can schedule times for your door to be unlocked when your dog walker or house cleaner comes by. You can also give permanent door access to your friends or family members.
Because it is still in its testing stage, Amazon Key has vulnerabilities. The Cloud Cams, like most electronic devices, can be hacked. Additionally, customers with Amazon Key have to trust that deliverers will not exploit their home. Amazon is taking measures, such as deliverer background checks and home security notifications, to prevent anybody from taking advantage of its new service.

Graphics courtesy of DIGITIALTREDS.COM

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