Package loss and theft is probably a big problem for most online retailers. I'd probably be loaded if I had a few bucks for every time one of my friends griped that a package went missing (usually around the holiday season, naturally). So it's no surprise that two of the biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, just announced new technology and services that would let the delivery people unlock your door and bring the package right inside.
Amazon Key is meant to work with already existing smart key technologies from Yale and Kwikset and security cameras—you'd buy a kit of the technology starting at $249, with free Amazon-provided installation. When you have a package coming, Amazon will provide a 4-hour window for the delivery, alert you when your delivery person is at your door, and let you watch the delivery happen live via security cam. (The delivery person has a special scanner they can use to unlock the house, so you don't need to provide them with a code.) Once you have the smart key technology, you can provide key codes to your kids, family members, or anyone else who might need to access your home when you're not around.
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wn7DBdaUNLA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
Walmart's pilot program partners with smart security company August. Walmart customers buy products from them—including groceries—and a delivery person from Deliv goes to Walmart to pick up the items. If you aren't home, the Deliv worker will receive a one-time-use security code to unlock the August smart lock, and you'll be notified that your delivery arrived and able to watch via the doorbell cam and other cameras throughout your house. Your delivery person will even put your groceries away in the fridge.
Delivery people for both programs are subjected to background checks, to help people feel safer with this idea. And admittedly, the thought that packages (and groceries!) would just magically appear is pretty tempting. But I'm feeling a little wary about the possibility that these scanners or locks could be hacked to provide access to people who I definitely don't want in my house. Plus, I'm not exactly sure about letting people get to know me quite that well. Do I really want some delivery dude judging my grocery order? And I'd feel the pressure to really keep my fridge emptied of wilted veggies and past-their-prime leftovers. Which may not be the worst thing, come to think of it.
At this point, I'm definitely in "wait and see" mode—as in, wait to see if nothing too horrible happens with this grand new technological advance. And then maybe I'd sign on. Would you?