Ebitz, Mari-Elain mug 2018

Mari-Elain Ebitz

All Things Tech

In 2005, Amazon Prime membership service was introduced, offering free two-day shipping within the U.S. on eligible purchases. That service has grown exponentially to 200 million members.

Now Amazon Prime offers free movies and TV shows on Prime Video, once a month free online book, music and exclusive deals for $119/year or $12.99/month. They offer a free 30-day trial.

In October 2017, a new service became part of Amazon Prime, which allowed deliveries inside your home for Prime members.

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Called Amazon Key In-Home, it requires a specific brand of smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam security camera. The bundle ranges from $249 to $319.

Drivers receive a one-time code, open the door and leave the package, while the cloud-based camera records a video until the door is locked. The customer can view that video live on their phone.

Or the customer can use the Key app to unlock the door, issue a virtual key and view the camera live.

In April 2018, Amazon introduced Key In-Car, available on select vehicles with OnStar. Deliveries are made to the trunk of your car, whether parked in your driveway or in your workplace parking lot. However, because of COVID-19 concerns, the In-Car Delivery option is on hold.

A year later, Amazon introduced Key In-Garage, partnering with the Chamberlain Group, makers of garage door openers. In-Garage allows customers, who have a smart Chamberlain or LiftMaster garage door opener with MyQ, to participate in this program.

Certain Chamberlain garage door openers have the MyQ app, which opens and closes the door. Amazon’s Key app must be downloaded and linked to the MyQ app, in order to use In-Garage.

Amazon’s In-Garage drivers are vetted through comprehensive background checks and are not allowed to go more than five feet into your garage.

Upon delivery, the driver receives a one-time access code on his phone, with multi-step authorization.

If you have a compatible camera, you can view the deliveries in real time.

All Key deliveries are free to Prime members.

This week, I decided to enroll in Key In-Garage. I wasn’t sure In-Garage would be available in my zip code. Surprise! It was. I downloaded Amazon’s Key app and linked the Key app with the MyQ app.

Then, per app instructions, went outside and took a photo of the garage door. Next, another screen came up and I centered a yellow package graphic exactly where I wanted my package placed inside.

On Wednesday, I ordered an expensive item and selected Key delivery. However, you are not required to use it. My first notice on the Key app said the package would be delivered on Sunday.

On Sunday, I was notified that the driver was two stops away. Then the Key app notified me that the garage door was open, package was delivered, and door was closed. I checked my garage and, sure enough, my package was placed right where I wanted.

A few minutes into writing this column (after I had received my In-Garage delivery that same day), I received a notice from Ring (the doorbell people). It was a video of a porch pirate stealing packages left by the Amazon delivery person. This home was only 3.9 miles from me.

However, those Amazon packages were left on the entryway where the female thief stole them. She was captured on the Ring Doorbell! Earlier I had my In-Garage delivery, and my expensive item was safe. So glad I enrolled. I couldn’t have made that up!

Mari-Elain Ebitz writes about technology for Citrus County Chronicle.

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