New York (AP) — Amazon is tired of ringing the doorbell.
Online shopping giants are urging landlords across the country to give drivers the ability to unlock apartment doors on their mobile devices, sometimes with financial incentives.
This service, called Key for Business, has been proposed as a way to reduce stolen luggage by making it easier to keep stolen luggage in the lobby rather than outdoors. Amazon has the advantage of allowing delivery personnel to make rounds faster. Also, fewer packages stolen can reduce costs and give Amazon an edge over its competitors.
Those who have installed the device say it is a safer alternative to reducing the constant commotion of deliverers and giving code to dozens of deliverers.
However, the Amazon program, first announced in 2018, can arouse security and privacy concerns as it gains momentum. According to the company, they are conducting a background check on delivery personnel and can only unlock the door if they have the baggage to scan. However, tenants may not know that Amazon drivers can access the front door of the building. This is because Amazon leaves it to the front door of the building to notify you.
Privacy researcher Ashkan Saltani, a senior technical advisor to former President Barack Obama, said that any device connected to the Internet, including Amazon, could be hacked and a malicious person could lock the door. He said he might try to unlock it.
“Basically, we’re deploying external devices connected to the Internet into our internal network,” said Soltani, a former Chief Technology Officer of the US Federal Trade Commission.
Amazon did not answer the question about potential hacking.
The company has already installed devices in thousands of US apartments, but refused to give a certain number. It sometimes leaves a clue and puts a round sticker with the Amazon smile logo on the buzzer where the device is installed. On a street in New York City, stickers were affixed to three of the 11 buildings. In another neighborhood, two of the seven buildings had stickers on them.
Amazon sales reps are fanning out to cities across the country to knock on doors, make cold calls, and contact building managers on the street to encourage device installation. The company partnered with a local lock shop to push it to building managers while they were repairing the locks. Amazon installs the device for free and sometimes throws a $ 100 Amazon gift card into anyone.
Soltani said he learned about Key for Business when he was contacted in April by two Amazon salespeople who wanted access to a building in Oakland, California. Building management was denied and the device was not installed.
Amazon had good luck with Kenton Girard. Chicago landlord Girard has agreed to install devices in four buildings as a way to reduce luggage theft.
“I would have paid to do that,” Girard said of the Amazon device.
Currently, only the United States Postal Service has a way to enter the apartment building to get to the mailbox. UPS said it partnered with a smart lock company in 2018 to test how employees could enter the building without disturbing the tenants. However, the test was over and UPS did not reveal the reason. According to the company, customers can instead deliver packages to a nearby grocery store, dry cleaner, or florist if they are not at home.
FedEx refused to comment on this story.
For years, Amazon wanted to get through the front doors of people. In 2017, shoppers started to come home and leave their luggage in the lobby when the deliveryman was absent. Wal-Mart did the same shortly thereafter, but the deliveryman also stocked groceries in the refrigerator. Amazon and Wal-Mart haven’t disclosed how many people are using these services, but both have recently expanded their services to more cities.
In 2018, Amazon turned to the apartment building, launched Key for Business, signed up with the landlord and installed the device for development. However, the push seems to have accelerated last year or so, with Amazon having sales representatives nationwide. According to recent job listings in Miami and San Antonio, Amazon sales reps can earn bonuses and commissions of $ 3,000 to $ 11,000 a month. Amazon doesn’t say how much it spends on its efforts.
Not all Amazon packages can pass through the front door. According to Rakuten Intelligence, a shopping data company, the company offers about 60% of its packages. The rest come through other delivery companies that can’t put themselves in.
Philip T. Evers, a professor of logistics at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith Business School, said Amazon’s desire to install devices in as many buildings as possible could be a way to keep competitors out.
“The landlord may say,’This is done for one company, but not for all the shipping companies there,'” he said. Instead of rushing shoppers to the post office, Amazon can find other uses for the service, such as having delivery personnel pick up returns left in the lobby, he added. Amazon refused to share future plans.
Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer at marketing firm Publicis Communications, said the device is because workers can unload more luggage during the shift and offer fewer refunds to those who have stolen luggage. He said he could save Amazon’s money.
He heard about the program in December when a locksmith who replaced the buzzer system in a Chicago condo building offered a free installation of Amazon Key for Business. Goldberg, who helped manage the building, later allowed an Amazon sales representative (hanging a $ 100 Amazon gift card) to install the device.
“They offer it for free because it benefits Amazon more than we do,” Goldberg said.
Amazon wants a “key” to the building of your apartment
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