Sometimes, it’s easier, more advantageous and profitable to be a trailblazer than a trend follower. Just ask e-commerce giant Amazon, which made a hot mess of its rookie smartphone effort a few years back while gradually conquering the fast-rising smart home industry.
It all started with an experimental voice-controlled Echo speaker, which spawned enough sequels and spin-offs in less than three years to make the producers of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise jealous for life.
Whether you opt for a “traditional” model, a revised edition with a smaller or larger screen in tow, or even a hands-free camera featuring built-in Alexa assistance, Amazon will try to elevate your home automation experience with various third-party accessories or at least combinations of different Echo devices.
Technically, the newly unveiled Amazon Cloud Cam is something else entirely, but if you think about it, it’s the logical next step in the company’s consumer hardware evolution. The intelligent indoor security camera “works seamlessly with Alexa” (of course), letting you keep an eye on the house from anywhere on an Echo Show, Echo Spot or Fire tablet.
More importantly, the Cloud Cam is the first security camera to support Amazon Key, a bold and unique new platform enabling “in-home delivery and secure home access for guests and service appointments.”
That sounds… intrusive and dangerous, but Amazon claims it’s devised an almost foolproof system for the highest level of delivery convenience. Using the Cloud Cam, a compatible smart lock from Yale or Kwikset, and the Amazon Key app, Prime members can watch live as delivery drivers unlock their doors and leave packages inside. Or they can review the footage after the completion of the delivery process.
An encrypted authentication mechanism will always verify the correct driver is at the right address at the intended time, so what can go wrong? Hopefully, we won’t find that out once the $120 Cloud Cam starts shipping to US customers on November 8.
Pre-orders are already underway, and complete Amazon Key In-Home Kits are $250 a pop. Oh, and if you’re curious about the Cloud Cam’s full spec sheet, let’s just say it’s pretty solid. It includes premium stuff like night vision, two-way audio, a wide viewing angle, and Full HD video support in addition to Alexa capabilities and 24-hour activity monitoring.