Do you allow strangers into your home while you’re away? Is your home full of Apple products? Do you trust Apple while using their products? The answers should be obvious. Most of us would no want strangers into our home while away. Most households in the U.S. and other developed countries have multiple Apple products. And, yes, Apple is trusted by more than 1-billion customers.
What about Amazon? The company has a new program which allows delivery services to drop off products at your home while you’re away. In essence, customers who use Amazon Key let delivery services open the front door to leave packages inside.
Anybody see anything wrong here? What could go wrong?
Geoffrey A. Fowler tried Amazon’s new service and came to a conclusion. Amazon cannot be trusted.
I gave Amazon.com a key to go into my house and drop off packages when I’m not around. After two weeks, it turns out letting strangers in has been the least-troubling part of the experience.
Without much public knowledge, what Amazon does and how it treats its customers can be described as insidious. And dangerous on many levels.
Once Amazon owned my door, I was the one locked into an all-Amazon world.
Yet, many households have many Apple products. Macs, iPhones, iPads, and more recently Apple Watch, AirPods, Beats headphones, not to mention Apple TV, Apple Music, iTunes, and much more.
Are we afraid of Apple? What did Fowler find during his use of Amazon Key?
1) THIS IS CREEPY. 2) I kind of want this, so my packages don’t get stolen.
I have never had an issue with UPS, USPS, or FedEx packages being stolen so I can’t speak to that fear, but I have viewed plenty of such thefts on YouTube so it must be an issue. Or, is Amazon cultivating a little fear to embed itself deeper into our homes?
But make no mistake, the $250 Amazon Key isn’t just about stopping thieves. It’s the most aggressive effort I’ve seen from a tech giant to connect your home to the Internet in a way that puts itself right at the center.
More than Apple?
First, what is Amazon Key?
Amazon Key is meant to get packages delivered inside customers’ homes, solving the last mile problem that made it difficult to deliver securely. Once customers have checked the eligibility for the service and installed the kit, they will be ready to shop on Amazon and select the “Free in-home delivery”. Right now, only Prime products are eligible for this service. Customers will be given a time window of 4 hours for the package to be delivered. The App associated to Amazon Key will send push notifications, notifying that the package will “arrive now”. Then, customers can monitor on their device the delivery thanks to the Cloud Cam installed. As a policy of the company, the delivery agent will knock first the door before requesting access through the Amazon Key Scanner. Amazon will verify the location of the delivery agent and the order to be delivered before unlocking the door remotely, which activates the camera. Finally, the package is delivered inside the house and the delivery agent requests that the door is locked back again. The app associated with the service will constantly send notifications to the customers.
Uh, OK. George Jetson would be proud. So, what’s the problem? Fowler had all kinds of issues with installation and usage, and the delivery failed on four of eight attempts. But that’s just ironing out the bugs, right?
But Amazon is barely hiding its goal: It wants to be the operating system for your home. Amazon says Key will eventually work with dog walkers, maids and other service workers who bill through its marketplace. An Amazon home security service and grocery delivery from Whole Foods can’t be far off.
What’s so bad about living in an all-Amazon house? The company doesn’t always have the best prices, or act in ways that benefit consumers.
Amazon vs. Apple, Amazon vs. Google. Amazon seems to care more about Amazon than about customers. But again, you have choices.
After two weeks, my family voted to remove the Amazon Key smart lock and take down the camera. Amazon Key did give me some peace of mind about delivery theft. But the trade-off is giving more power over your life to a company that probably already has too much.
I know people who no longer use Uber or Lyft because the drivers and the companies cannot be trusted. Trust is important. Because Amazon often does not have the best price, often changes prices presented to customers, and tracks online behavior, we, as a family, do not order as much as we once did.
Apple seems more intent on earning customer respect and loyalty. Apple has a trusted place in our homes. Amazon wants that, too, but doesn’t seem willing to show respect or loyalty to customers.