Will customers give Amazon the keys to their smart homes?
Amazon.com has been continually upping the ante on how quickly and conveniently it can get people their orders through any number of last-mile logistics innovations. But a new delivery option they’re testing sounds like it could strike some as a little too convenient for comfort.
Amazon is exploring the idea of offering in-home deliveries, that is, having delivery people place items in the home of the customer when he or she is not in the residence, Engadget reported. Amazon is looking to facilitate this through a partnership with a smart locks company and an IoT garage door company.
Such a setup could benefit those who live in buildings without vestibules and cannot receive packages at work, and so are either constantly missing deliveries during the day or unable to order from Amazon entirely. But the potential privacy concerns are quite obvious. The model would require allowing a stranger into residences unsupervised, which could lead to theft or vandalism, or allow criminals to case out residences for future break-ins.
There is also a concern that a hacker could steal data from one of the parties involved in facilitating the in-home deliveries, which would grant a third-party access to the house. Even without the added concern of data sharing between Amazon and other companies, smart locks have problems of their own. At this year’s Def Con hacker convention, as reported in Dark Reading, a researcher characterized 75 percent of the smart locks he investigated as easily compromised.
Exploring the possibility of in-home deliveries is only the most recent of Amazon’s high-tech delivery experiments. In July, for instance, the company patented technology that would enable delivery drones to perch on docking stations affixed to street lamps.
Amazon has also been beefing up its delivery presence at the other end of the logistics chain. In August the company announced that it had begun leasing cargo jets to supplement other shipping carriers.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that current and former Amazon managers have confirmed the company’s desire to build its own shipping business in an attempt to reduce delivery costs.
- Amazon partners are reportedly exploring in-home deliveries – Engadget
- IoT Village at DEF CON 24 Uncovers Extensive Security Flaws in Connected Devices – Dark Reading
- Amazon Patent Lets Drones Perch on Streetlight Recharching Stations – Popular Science
- Amazon’s Newest Ambition: Competing Directly with UPS and FedEx – Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the idea of in-home package delivery one that could take off in the era of the smart home? What would it take for people ordering from Amazon to be comfortable with getting in-home deliveries from the company?