Amazon.com Inc. is going to start delivering packages not just to doorsteps, but inside homes as well.
The new service, called Amazon Key, incorporates a smart lock fitted to a customer’s door, as well as a new Amazon security camera to record the movements of the delivery person, the company said on Oct. 25. Amazon will also sell its Cloud Cam as a standalone piece of hardware, moving the e-commerce giant into the home security market and setting it up to compete with traditional players including Netgear Inc. as well as newer entrants like Alphabet Inc. ’s Nest Labs.
Doors will only be opened for delivery if the relevant driver is verified by Amazon’s system, and the driver is never given keys or codes to unlock doors manually. The service is a perk available exclusively to Amazon’s premium Prime subscription users, and starts at $250. The In-Home Kit includes an Amazon Cloud Cam and one of several smart locks made by Yale and Kwikset.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement.
Amazon Key will be available in 37 U.S. cities from Nov. 8. Amazon will also offer free installation of the kits. The Cloud Cam, will additionally be sold as a standalone device for $120. Much like Google’s Nest Cam, it allows for remote monitoring of homes, two-way communication and web-based video recording.
The new offering marks the latest attempt by Seattle-based Amazon to embed itself in people’s daily lives and make products easily attainable. Hardware isn’t the core of Amazon’s business, but it’s an important conduit to a universe of services it provides. The Alexa voice-based digital assistant on the company’s Echo speakers gives customers the ability to quickly order products, while Kindles, tablets and TV devices push Amazon’s content from music and movies.
Amazon Key also opens the door to future integration with in-home service providers, such as cleaners and pet sitters, in the coming months. The company intends to give homeowners the ability to let third parties enter, conduct their business, and depart with the house fastened up securely. While the work is taking place, the customer can track and talk to the hired hands using Amazon’s Cloud Cam.
Brands already signed on to enter dwellings via Amazon Key include ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc.’s Merry Maids and animal caregiver Rover.com.
Friends and family will also be permitted into people’s homes. Using Amazon’s Key app, a pre-authorized person can be allowed in while the owner retains control over the frequency of entrances and the lengths of their stay.
Amazon has introduced a string of new products recently. In September, the company debuted new Echo speakers, including a small model with a screen and videoconferencing for nightstands. Earlier this year, the company announced the Echo Show, a speaker with a tablet-sized screen, and the Echo Look, a camera that gives fashion suggestions.
The home security market is growing rapidly. Statista estimates that smart-home camera shipments will almost quintuple to 25.1 million by 2019. The research firm estimates the broader market for all smart-home devices will be worth $40.9 billion worldwide by 2020.
By Nate Lanxon