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article image'Invasive' Amazon Key rejected by 60 percent of Prime members

By James Walker     Nov 7, 2017 in Technology
Amazon launched its new in-home delivery service Key today. The smart lock system lets drivers place items inside your house, potentially compromising privacy. It's exclusive to Prime members but a survey has found 60 percent of people are not interested.
Amazon Key was announced last month and immediately hit with a barrage of criticism from web users. Social media posts about the service claimed Amazon is "out-of-touch," pointing out it could give thieves a way to slip inside homes. Amazon hasn't been deterred though and today it launched Key in the U.S.
"Would not buy"
A poll conducted by SurveyMonkey and commissioned by Recode found 58 percent of Amazon Prime subscribers would "definitely not buy" Amazon Key. Just 5 percent of members said they "definitely would" sign up. Amongst all U.S. consumers surveyed, the figure sat at 4 percent for "would buy" and 61 percent for "definitely would not." 60 percent of the respondents had a Prime subscription.
The figures illustrate the challenges Amazon will face as it encourages consumers to try Key out. The company's already had to negotiate the bad press Key received last month, including a Washington Post column that suggested the service could lead to "being assaulted by a person hiding in one's home!"
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Amazon Key is supposed to make it simpler and more convenient to have goods delivered to your home. Instead of handing the package to your neighbours or putting it in a safe place, Amazon delivery drivers can open your door and place the item inside your house.
The system uses Amazon's Cloud Cam to video the driver's actions. Access is granted by a web-connected smart lock that Amazon can remotely control, allowing delivery staff to request the Key is unlocked. Amazon also allows the service to be used by friends and family so they can enter your house while you're out, without having to leave a physical key.
Earning trust
The negative reaction so far suggests Key's "convenience" isn't doing enough to counter the potential risks. Consumers don't want to pay Amazon for a service that could let outsiders into their house.
The concept is still so new that it's difficult to look beyond the possible dangers, however unlikely they may be. The debacle's illustrative of the wider issues facing consumer IoT products, many of which will depend on earning the trust of sceptical homeowners.
The waves of negativity over the past few weeks imply Amazon's approach might not be one to follow. Experts have previously called for a gradual rollout of IoT devices, allowing consumers to become acquainted with the concept before more radical, privacy-invading products are introduced. Key may have been launched too early to win consumers over, eroding trust in IoT and increasing the challenges for future devices.
More about amazon key, Amazon, IoT, internet of things, smart devices
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