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article imageWalmart and Amazon want to enter your home — is this good?

By Karen Graham     Oct 26, 2017 in Technology
Last month, Walmart announced it was testing a home delivery service where employees come inside the home to restock the refrigerator. Amazon, not to be outdone, has announced its own home delivery service, mirroring its competitor.
You may count yourself in the majority of people who don't like just any Tom, Dick or Harry coming inside your home when no one is there, however, Amazon and Walmart in an attempt to grab a greater portion of consumer spending dollars want to make your online purchase experience as easy as possible.
Walmart started the whole initiative by testing the concept through a new partnership with the smart home security company, August. San Francisco, California-based August Home, Inc. was founded in 2012 and develops smarter home access products and services including the award-winning August Smart Lock.
With the Walmart trial, customers will have to use August's advanced home monitoring technology that includes a camera. Customers will utilize an August smart lock to allow delivery drivers a one-time entry into their home. By using these smart home devices, the customer can see the entire delivery process from start to end, beginning with a notification sent to their mobile device.
Deliveries for Walmart are being handled by Deliv – a service that Walmart-owned Sam’s Club began testing last year in Miami, Florida. With the August partnership, Walmart customers both inside and outside cities could take advantage of the service, if they were also August device owners, reports TechCrunch.
Amazon Key lets you grant access to the people you trust. Schedule permanent access for your family ...
Amazon Key lets you grant access to the people you trust. Schedule permanent access for your family members or give temporary access to recurring visitors like dog walkers, house cleaners, or out-of-town guests. You’ll be notified any time your guest locks or unlocks your door.
Amazon Key
Amazon's service mirrors Walmart
Amazon announced on Wednesday it was starting "Amazon Key," a new program that allows delivery people to enter homes to leave packages inside, safe from both the elements and potential thieves. It is set to begin November 8 in 37 cities across the country.
And like Walmart, Amazon has also safeguarded a customer's delivery. After an order is placed, the delivery driver can request access to the residence and Amazon then verifies that the correct driver is at the correct address at the correct time. The Cloud Cam is an extra layer of security, starting to record and capture any nefarious activity once the in-home delivery is approved by Amazon.
The Amazon service is free for Amazon Prime members, but they will need to shell out $250 for the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes a compatible smart lock made by Yale or Kwikset and the Cloud Cam, basically, the same deal as Walmart customers can expect.
 These tests are a natural evolution of what Walmart is all about – an obsession in saving our cus...
"These tests are a natural evolution of what Walmart is all about – an obsession in saving our customers not just money but also time."
Privacy considerations abound
There are still many of us who do not allow just anyone into our homes, especially when we aren't present. But this new innovative strategy is part and parcel of the digital transformation many companies are embracing to gain a bigger share of customers.
To show just how far a company will go, Amazon has a "Happiness Guarantee" in place, including a dedicated help center that deals with any complaints about the home delivery or if something is damaged during the home delivery. On its website, Amazon says its delivery people are "thoroughly vetted, with comprehensive background checks and motor vehicle records reviews."
However, privacy is another consideration to think about, and that's why both companies are using cams, security locks and personal notifications to the customer. But some people do wonder about a delivery person "snooping around" looking in drawers or at personal papers.
Joel Reidenberg is a professor of law at Fordham University School of Law and the director of the school's center on law and information privacy. He says this new convenience could be a double-edged sword. "It certainly raises privacy concerns, an unknown person coming into your home," he said.
He says that if a homeowner's privacy is violated, the terms of service in the delivery contract will probably leave the homeowner with little recourse, other than to report the incident to the company, where the employee would probably be fired.
"Somebody looking around the house — what's the provable harm they'd be able to show? Would they really want to bring a lawsuit costing $50,000 to get in the courthouse door to sue the delivery person because they snooped in the house? That's not gonna happen," Reidenberg said.
Bottom line - These services are elective. No one will enter your home if you don't want this. And the added security measures also provide another barrier against stealing. All the delivery drivers know they are being filmed, from the time they reach your door until they leave.
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