Much of what we do in modern life is based upon trust, and we give trust in varying degrees. We trust the car coming down the street will stay in its own lane. We trust our employer will pay us for work we do.
That kind of trust is limited, flexible, withdrawn and extended, but it’s everywhere. When you walk into an Apple Store to have a genius at the Genius Bar look at a problematic device, we trust they know what they’re doing and will get it repaired. Our experience with Apple is good, so we extend trust. What about Amazon?
In God We Trust
Color me a mostly happy Amazon Prime member from the beginning. Prices are decent, shipping is free. Yes, if we don’t upgrade to a faster shipping method, it takes forever for Amazon to prepare items to ship, but they get here eventually. Do you trust Amazon? Do you trust Amazon reviews? For most of us who have used Amazon, the answer is a qualified yes.
Would you trust Amazon to deliver a package and drop it inside the door? Now we have to think about the situation. That scenario requires that we give Amazon permission and means to deliver a product– not to the doorstep– but inside the door when we’re not available to accept delivery.
Amazon is testing a new product called Amazon Key. As with movies and free shipping, Amazon Key is available only to Amazon Prime members. This is an in home delivery service. Yes. That’s right. The package you ordered will be delivered inside your front door even if you’re not there. Amazon will unlock the door.
Magic, right? Not quite. There’s a price tag.
For $250 Amazon will give you the Amazon Key System which includes the Amazon Key app, one of several compatible smart locks from the likes of Yale and Kwikset, plus the Amazon Cloud Cam. From then on, when you buy from Amazon you can select a new “in home delivery” option. The delivery driver is verified when he or she arrives at the door, the Cloud Cam camera is turned on, the smart lock is unlocked, the driver opens the door and drops the package inside, while the camera records the whole shebang, including the delivery driver shutting the door.
Can you see what’s going on?
Amazon and its selected delivery services have a big problem that increases costs. People are not always home to receive their packages. Sometimes packages that are left at the door get stolen. Double trips and theft are a growing expense. Amazon Key reduces those costs. Yet, you’ll be able to see the delivery take place thanks to the camera and app.
Alright, I get it. Lowered costs and ensured delivery. Great. The delivery driver is captured on video dropping the package inside the door. Amazon says the whole process is secure, but what could go wrong? Do you trust such a system? Do you trust Amazon to make it happen? Is this package delivery of the future?
I trust Apple to keep private information private. Touch ID stores a numerical fingerprint not easily accessed and virtually impossible to reproduce. My iPhone can be locked down sufficiently tight that even the F.B.I. can’t get in. Apple Pay works seamlessly and does not leave a trail or provide merchants with private information. It looks as if Face ID will add another level of security to Apple’s products.
Amazon is trying to get into my home while I’m not there so it can reduce costs. Apple is trying to keep my private information secure from outside forces. For now, I like Apple’s approach better because it’s based on my convenience while Amazon Key is an attempt to reduce Amazon’s costs.