Amazon's new home delivery camera doubles as an Apple HomeKit security competitor

Posted:
in General Discussion
Amazon on Wednesday announced the Cloud Cam, its first entry into HomeKit-style smarthome products. In parallel it revealed "Amazon Key," an option for Prime members that will let delivery drivers leave a package inside a home.




The indoor-only Cloud Cam sports 1080p resolution, night vision, a 120-degree field of view, and two-way audio. Support for Amazon's Alexa assistant is of course built in, letting owners view a live feed through an Echo Show, Echo Spot, or the company's Fire set-tops and tablets. People without one of those devices can still keep tabs by way of iOS and Android apps, which also provide access to alerts and highlight clips.

By default buyers get 24 hours of cloud storage for up to three Cloud Cams. Many features are gated behind paid subscriptions however, including clip downloads and sharing, person detection (not just motion), and setting zones for cameras to ignore.

The Basic plan also offers up to 7 days of storage, and costs $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year. A $9.99/$99.99 Extended plan supports up to 5 cameras and doubles coverage to 14 days. A Pro plan, lastly, saves video from up to 10 cameras for 30 days, and costs $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year.

One of the main drives for introducing the Cloud Cam is actually Amazon Key, which requires buying a special $249.99 bundle including a Key Edition Cloud Cam and a Yale or Kwikset smartlock. Amazon is also limiting the option to 37 U.S. cities, and some items might not qualify for Key at checkout.

For security, Amazon verifies that the right delivery driver is arriving at the right place at the right time. This triggers the Cloud Cam and unlocks the door.




Both Key and the Cloud Cam are set to debut on Nov. 8, though preorders are now underway. A single Cloud Cam costs $119.99, while a two-pack is $199.99, and three are available for $289.99. A bundle of a Cloud Cam and an Echo Show is currently available for $299.98.

There are currently just two HomeKit-compatible security cameras: the D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD, and the Logi Circle 2.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 34
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    Solirepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 34
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 381member
    Those drivers that are married better up their life insurance policies. Would not surprise me to see one or more getting shot opening someones door.
    repressthisSpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    My first reaction is 100% inline with @SpamSandwich, but you make a great points and having a security camera does mean you can record who at least came up to your house. Still, from Amazon and the delivery service's PoV I'd think this is an issue since people could say that these employees stole something, broke something, let their cat out by accident, or did something gross while in the house. I think that's going to be exceedingly rare, but I think there will be some complaints. Whether justified or not, those accusations seem like a huge hassle.
    repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Many times they delivered in my neighbor, No thanks
  • Reply 6 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Holy crap NO NO NO NO.
    lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Many times they delivered in my neighbor, No thanks
    Then this might actually help stop that if they're expecting to drop it off inside and you have Cloud Cam and they don't.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    I’d rather pick it up from the depot, thanks. 
    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 9 of 34
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 582member
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    This...this is an insane argument for Amazon Key.
    SpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 10 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    Yeah, and then my big dogs rips the guys to shred.
    I put better locks and detection to prevent their untimely death.
    I do film everything so I'll send that to their next of kin if they somehow get in anyway and the police is not there yet.

    My window openings without bars are 12-22 feet off the ground and those at ground level windows have big ass bars and are recessed into the concrete structure.
    All those windows are visible from the street, neighbors or cameras; cameras are visible and we have a neighborhood watch.

    So, your mention is nonsense. I'm not letting some sad sack driver into my home.
    I'm not renting on airBnb for that same reason even though I'm very well situated, cause I don't want anyone touching my stuff ever.

    If some bozo doesn't care enough for what he owns to let any idiot roam into their house, that's on them. They can fritter some more of their privacy for some shit from Amazon.

    We've had 4 attempts at our house in the last 40 years, leading to 3 people (from two of the attempts) being in jail. The 2 other attemptees  are still at large (1 came before I installed cameras in the early 1990s).


    edited October 2017 GG1
  • Reply 11 of 34
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,201member
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    These things are probability issues. A determined burglar can do all the things you mention, but given the option of going someplace that looks less secure, most will choose that. That's why you go ahead and lock your car doors and don't leave a purse in the front seat. Most people with nefarious intent are just looking for the right opportunity. If you define "safe" as "impervious," you may be disappointed. If you define "safe" as "less likely to be burgled," you can indeed do things that will improve your chances. One of those is probably going to be not employing a system that allows fully automated access to your home.
    lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    AppleZulu said:
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    These things are probability issues. A determined burglar can do all the things you mention, but given the option of going someplace that looks less secure, most will choose that. That's why you go ahead and lock your car doors and don't leave a purse in the front seat. Most people with nefarious intent are just looking for the right opportunity. If you define "safe" as "impervious," you may be disappointed. If you define "safe" as "less likely to be burgled," you can indeed do things that will improve your chances. One of those is probably going to be not employing a system that allows fully automated access to your home.
    How are cameras in any way going to increase your chances of being burgled?
  • Reply 13 of 34
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,201member
    Also, the trade-off for this 'service' seems a bit unbalanced. If your Amazon order is delivered to your front porch, you risk someone coming along and stealing it off your front porch. Having an automated system that allows the delivery person to leave it inside reduces the risk of theft from your porch, but at the cost of at least some small increased probability of having everything else in your house stolen. It's not just that the delivery person has momentary access to enter your home, but that the delivery person has momentary access to quickly look around and survey whether there is anything worth returning for later. It would seem better just to risk random theft from your front porch.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Obviously the Amazon Key service won't appeal to everyone, just as a lot of people don't do AirBNB or other things that involve strangers entering your home. If you shoot people who enter your home without asking questions, or if you own a giant man-eating dog, you won't be signing up for in-home delivery and thus that won't be a problem. However, I know that some people live in neighborhoods where packages get stolen from the doorstep, esp. around Christmas time, and this might appeal to them. It doesn't have to appeal to everyone. Really though, I can't see enough people with remote-controlled locks that would make this a viable business model. Probably about as practical as home-delivery with drones. Trust me, that will NEVER happen.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    AppleZulu said:
    Also, the trade-off for this 'service' seems a bit unbalanced. If your Amazon order is delivered to your front porch, you risk someone coming along and stealing it off your front porch. Having an automated system that allows the delivery person to leave it inside reduces the risk of theft from your porch, but at the cost of at least some small increased probability of having everything else in your house stolen. It's not just that the delivery person has momentary access to enter your home, but that the delivery person has momentary access to quickly look around and survey whether there is anything worth returning for later. It would seem better just to risk random theft from your front porch.
    I agree with you in part, like putting the onus on the company by leaving the package outside. They are more likely to survey the inside, but I think it's improbable to have "everything else in your house stolen." At best, it could be just swiping something convenient that's near the door. They don't have the time case the entire house thoroughly much less steal everything with a camera system that also control the door access times. I think it's more likely that they may accidentally leave the door unlocked or a real thief uses the opportunity to gain access to the home when the driver enters, but even those seem very unlikely. What this comes down to is control and people simply don't want strangers entering their homes. Hell, I don't want anyone I know entering my home when I'm not home.
    edited October 2017 dws-2lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 34
    dcgoodcgoo Posts: 247member
    I am not all that concerned about the security issues. That can be handled.  The bigger issue is the time it takes time to access someones's door and leave the package, secure the door and leave.  Not very conducive to efficient delivery of packages.  Even if it only adds 30 seconds to the drop (optimistic), that is a huge impact on how many packages can be delivered in a day.  Way slower than throwing the box on the porch and leaving quickly.  
  • Reply 17 of 34
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    foggyhill said:
    nht said:
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    Meh, you can break into most houses in 30 seconds by popping a window lock.

    Grab the alarm and stick in freezer to quiet it.  if there's an external siren or something that's annoying then just leave.

    Grab jewelry and cash from master bedroom and do a quick sweep in less than 5 mins.

    Leave before any response is going to happen.

    Having been on the receiving end of this kind of B&E and talking to the police a lot of what folks think makes their house "safe" doesn't.  I keep the alarm system still for night time use.  I arm it during the day but it's just a minor annoyance for anyone semi-competent.
    Yeah, and then my big dogs rips the guys to shred.
    I put better locks and detection to prevent their untimely death.
    I do film everything so I'll send that to their next of kin if they somehow get in anyway and the police is not there yet.

    My window openings without bars are 12-22 feet off the ground and those at ground level windows have big ass bars and are recessed into the concrete structure.
    All those windows are visible from the street, neighbors or cameras; cameras are visible and we have a neighborhood watch.

    So, your mention is nonsense. I'm not letting some sad sack driver into my home.
    I'm not renting on airBnb for that same reason even though I'm very well situated, cause I don't want anyone touching my stuff ever.

    If some bozo doesn't care enough for what he owns to let any idiot roam into their house, that's on them. They can fritter some more of their privacy for some shit from Amazon.

    We've had 4 attempts at our house in the last 40 years, leading to 3 people (from two of the attempts) being in jail. The 2 other attemptees  are still at large (1 came before I installed cameras in the early 1990s).
    I choose not to live in a neighborhood that requires big ass bars on my windows that are recessed into a concrete structure and guarded by big dogs that rips people to shred.

    You can call it "nonsense" but some of us don't live in high crime areas...and believe that folks have plenty of equally valid options in their lifestyle choices.

    /shrug

    If the drivers get some sort of vetting that's probably okay but given the way Amazon operates they probably don't.  The few I've met don't appear to be "sad sacks" or "idiots".  Just normal folks making a living to feed their families.  Most appear to be hard working and making deliveries as quickly as they can.

    But then again, I'm not a judgmental asshole living somewhere where their home has to be designed like a fort...maybe I'd also look down on Amazon delivery folks if I were.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 18 of 34
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member

    dcgoo said:
    I am not all that concerned about the security issues. That can be handled.  The bigger issue is the time it takes time to access someones's door and leave the package, secure the door and leave.  Not very conducive to efficient delivery of packages.  Even if it only adds 30 seconds to the drop (optimistic), that is a huge impact on how many packages can be delivered in a day.  Way slower than throwing the box on the porch and leaving quickly.  
    I'm not real sure that Amazon can implement this cleanly but presumably the lock requirements allow them to unlock the door as the delivery driver approaches the house and will re-lock it assuming the driver can manage to close the door.

    In theory this is all doable but it doesn't integrate into any existing security systems so the number of folks this would work for is pretty small to start.  I'm going to guess that Amazon will continue to add to the number of security systems that integrate into Alexa and maybe even have some offerings of their own.

    But it's relatively easy to foresee a time where Amazon has a comprehensive smarthome system that includes security monitoring that can handle disarming the alarm and unlocking the door so a package can be left then re-arming everything.

    Personally, I'll likely go Apple HomeKit route but as a Prime user I might be willing to let Amazon do it if the monitoring is heavily discounted.  The biggest thing for me is better fire protection monitoring.  Currently my smoke and CO2 detectors aren't integrated into anything and I'm not going to do Nest anything.

    I have insurance (and backups) for theft and at the end of the day, it's just stuff.  My family is more important.
    lolliver
  • Reply 19 of 34
    The few I've met don't appear to be "sad sacks" or "idiots".  Just normal folks making a living to feed their families.  Most appear to be hard working and making deliveries as quickly as they can.
    I wish that the world was that easy, not every criminal is going to look like an MS13 gang member, most look like the people next door.  Just look at the police mugshots sometime and read the crimes, sure some look like gang members or drug addicts, but some don't.

    if there isn't background checks as a basic requirement, that's the first issue, but all that shows is that they haven't been caught before.  Also the article didn't say how long the door would be unlocked?  Even so, what if the door doesn't get shut all the way and can't re-lock.

    I live in suburbia, and two things startled us.  Gang members, stole a lexus suv from the nearby big city, drove into our neighborhood at 3pm while the people were gone to the school to get their children, robbed their home and were gone by 3:45 when they returned with their children.  talking to police, gang members were doing this, stealing nicer cars so as to not attract attention, entering neighborhoods and robbing during the day.  don't know if they saw them leave, or had staked them out. They caught them a few days later, nothing recovered.

    the second time, two drug abusers were going house to house, trying each door to see if one was unlocked, luckily a neighbor called the police which stopped them.

    I don't live in a high crime area, yet there are two examples. 

    Follow the Amazon delivery dude, walk up immediately after and walk into an unlocked home. Would that work?  it's Amazon, not Apple.  Privacy and Security seems to be Apple's focus, sending all communications in a house that Alexa can hear un-encrypted seems to be Amazons.
  • Reply 20 of 34
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    Utterly insane. A huge security risk.
    It's a problem that needs a solution of some kind. The more that people order online, the more missed deliveries there will be when people are at work. I quite like the idea of using bins or vending machine type lockers. A street can have a shared bin with a few bays in it and it can be shared by different delivery services, similar to a coin-operated newspaper box. That also saves drivers going round each house. There would be electronic locks on the bins and you'd use a smartphone as a key to unlock your own bay to collect it.

    There can also be bins for a house. Most people have a letterbox so the bin can have an arm with adjustable height on it with a grappling hook style attachment that goes through the letterbox. Then the delivery driver only has to open the bin and put the package in it. When you get home, collapse the hook and remove the bin. The downside here is forgetting to put the bin out when the delivery is due (drivers could have ones with them for high value deliveries). The bin can be collapsible e.g flat against the door. The delivery driver can pull it open, drop the packages in and lock the top.

    I think the camera system plus smart lock would be secure enough. The only reason that an employee would do something is if the payoff was higher than losing their job and they'd know they could potentially lose their job just by stepping into the house too far. I wouldn't feel comfortable with it but a delivery driver would have to be really dumb to do anything criminal knowing they were being watched the entire time. They might however be inclined to use the bathroom thinking that was a perfectly legitimate thing to do and leave an extra unwanted package behind and they might not lose their job over that. They might also not close the door properly. The biggest hurdle for the lock+camera system will be getting people to pay for the necessary lock and installing it.

    There will be a lot of experimentation over the next few years to see which delivery methods are most reliable, cost-effective and secure for different packages. Despite the security concerns, if it works in practise and there aren't instances of abuse, it will be used by some customers, likely ones that get a high volume of deliveries.
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