Amazon has today announced its latest expansion into smart home ecosystem, with a new Alexa Cloud Cam security camera ($120) and a new Amazon Key service, which works with some smart locks to allow Amazon couriers to unlock your front door and deliver packages inside your house.
Amazon Key sends a notification to your iPhone that a courier is outside. If you aren’t at home, the Amazon courier will walk in and leave your parcel inside your house. You can use the security cam to keep eyes on the delivery person as they drop off your package.
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Available to Amazon Prime members in select cities, Amazon Key leaves deliveries ‘just inside your front door’. The service is only available in certain ares and requires the purchase of Amazon Key compatible hardware.
Amazon is selling an ‘in-home kit’ which includes the Alexa Cloud Cam and a compatible smart lock for $250.
The Amazon delivery driver will always knock first so if you are in they won’t blindly enter your house. However, if the house is unattended, and you have the necessary hardware setup, the driver can unlock your door and leave the package safely inside the house.
For peace of mind, you can use the security cam to view the delivery take place live remotely, or watch an automatic recording later.
If you don’t have Amazon Key available in your area, you can still use the lock and security camera like any other smart home product. Whilst the cam doesn’t integrate with HomeKit, there is a dedicated iOS app to stream the video feed over the network.
Naturally, all of the products Amazon recommends work with Alexa. If you an Echo Show in the bedroom, you can ask it to show you the live video feed of the camera pointing at the front door, for example.
The camera captures 1080p video and includes two way audio (mic and speakers) so you can talk to people at home through the app, and they can talk back to you. The associated cloud service uses computer vision to send intelligent alerts. For instance, the service can (theoretically, at least) differentiate between a human intruder and your pets setting off the motion sensor.
The Cloud Cam costs $120 and will be released on November 8. For free, Amazon will store your last 24 hours of security cam video on its servers. You can get more storage by signing up to a Cloud Cam Plan, which start at $6.99 per month for 7 days worth of cloud video storage, across 1-3 cameras. The subscription plans are also required to use features like the intelligent motion alerts.
In terms of the Amazon Key service, the compatible smart locks are not Amazon branded; they are from Kwikset and Yale. Depending on the exact models, the Yale lock might support HomeKit soon.
If you are eligible for Amazon Key, you can order a complete kit for $250 and start receiving in-home deliveries even when you are away. It’s certainly a bold proposition.