August Access: Smart lock company to offer in-home delivery - but would you trust it?

Alistair Charlton 09 January 2018

Following in the footsteps of Amazon, smart lock company August and delivery firm Deliv have teamed up to offer an in-home delivery service.

This is where the courier receives a one-use code for unlocking the customer's door, allowing them to place packages safely inside the property instead of leaving them outside, where they could be damaged or stolen.

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The service comes after the completion of a successful trial of in-home delivery conducted by August, Deliv and Walmart.

Called August Access, the service was announced at the CES technology show in Las Vegas on January 9 and will be rolling out across the US later this year, however a specific launch date has not been disclosed. Customers who buy products to be delivered by Deliv will be asked to pick a delivery time which works for them.

Once the courier arrives at their property, the customer will receive a notification on their phone. The courier will knock, and if no one answers they will use a code provided to them by August to unlock the door. The code is said to only work once, so they cannot re-enter after the package has been dropped.

Amazon Key offers a similar in-home delivery serviceAmazon

Amazon announced a trial of a similar in-home delivery service in October last year, called Amazon Key. This also gives couriers access to the customer's home and uses an internet-connected camera pointing at the door from the inside to record the delivery and show the customer - in real-time if they choose - what is going on.

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August Access can be configured to work in the same way, and if customers have a compatible camera they can also watch the delivery occur via their smartphone. While Amazon uses its own camera to record deliveries, August hasn't said which cameras - beyond, presumably, its own doorbell camera - will be compatible. While a doorbell camera is useful for watching outside the house, we think customers would prefer to see a delivery from within the property, to ensure the courier hasn't damaged or stolen anything while inside.

Customer safety and security must be August's number one priority if in-home delivery is to be a success. Just weeks after launching, a flaw was found in Amazon Key which potentially meant couriers could remain inside the customer's house after they thought - and the camera's video stream showed - they had left.

August Home chief executive Jason Johnson said: "In-home delivery provides an exciting new paradigm for shoppers, freeing up time while goods and groceries are safely and securely delivered inside the home. August and Deliv recently partnered on a pilot with Walmart to test new in-home delivery services that make people's lives easier. With Deliv, we are making August Access available to any retailer to offer their customers the option of secure in-home delivery."

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