Amazon Takes Aim At Wal-Mart With New 'Key' Service

Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) are in focus in morning trading after Amazon.com (AMZN) took a shot at the big box retailer by announcing a service that enables in-home delivery and secure home access for guests and service appointments for Prime members. The announcement follows Wal-Mart's own plans for the delivery of groceries "straight to the fridge."

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AMAZON KEY, CLOUD CAM: This morning, Amazon announced a connected door-lock and security-camera system for Prime members that lets delivery people drop off packages inside of customer homes. Additionally, Amazon introduced Amazon Cloud Cam, a $120 intelligent indoor security camera. Prime members can pre-order the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes Amazon Cloud Cam and one of several compatible "smart" locks by lock manufacturers Yale and Kwikset. Yale is a lock manufacturer owned by Assa Abloy. Kwikset is owned by a division of Spectrum Brands (SPB). Amazon Key In-Home Kit starts at $250, Amazon said.

HOW IT WORKS: Explaining how it works, Amazon said "Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer's home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. No access codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers." An Amazon spokesperson additionally told Recode the delivery people Amazon works with are "thoroughly vetted, with comprehensive background checks and motor vehicle records reviews."

WHAT'S NOTABLE: In late September, Wal-Mart, which is looking to gain ground on Amazon since the latter acquired Whole Foods, announced a limited test to allow in-home delivery of groceries for some customers in Silicon Valley for a group of August Home customers. The initiative, under Walmart.com U.S. CEO Marc Lore, is the latest in a series this year that also includes a membership-free, two-day shipping program, a discount for customers who pick up an online order at a order rather than have it shopped, curbside grocery pickup at hundreds of stores and other services such as having a Walmart store worker drop off an online order after their shift.

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