Amazon has done it again with an innovative, yet controversial idea that has stirred up lots of debate. Their latest business advancement plan could potentially change the nature and description of courier jobs as we know them. Amazon is proposing a new service whereby their delivery drivers will be able to access a customer’s home to place their order safely inside. The industry’s and the public’s initial reaction has been a collective raised eyebrow. However, upon further consideration, it seems that Amazon may be trailblazing towards the future and dragging all the naysayers along with them... once again! |
How’s It Going to Work?
The Amazon Key will be a lot more than simply leaving the key to your home under the front doormat for any delivery person to use. Obviously, the immediate concerns raised by all have surrounded the question of security. The company has addressed this issue with a proposed three-step, technology-based, process:
• Users will use a system that combines an app, a home security camera and a smart lock.
• Users may place an order and then select the ‘Key delivery’ option at checkout.
• Delivery drivers will scan the package upon arrival, which will unlock the smart lock to give them access to the user’s home or office.
• The user will receive a notification on their phone once the delivery has arrived, and can even opt to watch the drop-off live via a cloud-connected camera.
The ramifications of this kind of ‘white-glove’ service are immense, and will certainly put the spotlight on courier jobs in general. However, Amazon’s head of delivery technology Peter Larsen thinks that the “Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors.”
So Many Questions
Of course, the Amazon Key has many pros and cons.
• This is Amazon’s direct response to addressing the problem of package theft, which has become a lucrative industry for thieves.
• The convenience factor of the Amazon Key would draw in a lot of users. Small business owners could free up their time if they no longer needed to wait on deliveries.
• The Amazon Key would make courier jobs easier, eliminating the frustrating, and ultimately expensive process of repeat delivery attempts.
For most customers, the greatest reluctance to utilise the system would arise from fear and concerns regarding security. Sadly, even the knowledge of being seen does not deter some criminals. Ultimately it will come down to customer’s comfort level and willingness to participate.
Industry’s Point of View
Although much of the publicity surrounding this innovative idea has focused on customers’ concerns and praise, its effect on the delivery industry would be significant. If the concept were adopted by other companies, employers will have to conduct even more stringent background checks, while companies may face higher insurance premiums.
As it stands, the Amazon Key is being piloted in the United States, using only the company’s own delivery service. This raises the question of how customers outside of the 38 states where Amazon provides its own delivery service access the Amazon Key option. Also, how could this development affect independent, self-employed drivers in the coming years? Regardless of the answers to all of these questions, Amazon has certainly cracked the door open into the future. Just like any other employment sector, courier jobs must continue to grow and evolve to stay relevant to the economy and to meet the needs and wishes of consumers.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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