from the is-your-fridge-"clean"? dept.
Here's how the test will work: I place an order on Walmart.com for several items, even groceries. When my order is ready, a Deliv driver will retrieve my items and bring them to my home. If no one answers the doorbell, he or she will have a one-time passcode that I've pre-authorized which will open my home's smart lock. As the homeowner, I'm in control of the experience the entire time – the moment the Deliv driver rings my doorbell, I receive a smartphone notification that the delivery is occurring and, if I choose, I can watch the delivery take place in real-time. The Deliv associate will drop off my packages in my foyer and then carry my groceries to the kitchen, unload them in my fridge and leave. I'm watching the entire process from start to finish from my home security cameras through the August app. As I watch the Deliv associate exit my front door, I even receive confirmation that my door has automatically been locked.
"Five years ago consumers wouldn't have assumed they'd let a stranger drive them from the airport, much less stay in their house," said Forrest Collier, the CEO of eMeals, a platform that offers shopping lists based on recipes and loads the items into online shopping carts at Walmart and Kroger (KR) . "Now both Uber and Airbnb are billion-dollar companies."
For now, the fridge restocking service will only be available to Silicon Valley users of August Home. Customers will get a notification through their August Home app every time a delivery person drops off their food.
[...] Even though this Walmart service sounds "creepy on the front end," said Collier of eMeals, "it's really not as creepy as letting a stranger sleep in your bedroom."
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WHEN AMAZON LAUNCHED[sic] its Amazon Key service last month, it also offered a remedy for anyone—realistically, most people—who might be creeped out that the service gives random strangers unfettered access to your home. That security antidote? An internet-enabled camera called Cloud Cam, designed to sit opposite your door and reassuringly record every Amazon Key delivery.
But now security researchers have demonstrated that with a simple program run from any computer in Wi-Fi range, that camera can be not only disabled but frozen. A viewer watching its live or recorded stream sees only a closed door, even as their actual door is opened and someone slips inside. That attack would potentially enable rogue delivery people to stealthily steal from Amazon customers, or otherwise invade their inner sanctum.
Hot on the heels of Walmart's plans to deliver groceries directly into the fridges of homes with smart locks, Amazon has announced a similar arrangement for package deliveries, called Amazon Key:
Amazon on Wednesday announced Amazon Key, a new program for Prime members that lets delivery people drop off packages inside of customer homes.
To make Amazon Key possible, Amazon has introduced its own $120 internet-connected security camera called Amazon Cloud Cam. Customers who want to participate in the program need to purchase an accompanying "smart" lock to allow delivery people to enter their home. Combined camera-lock packages start at $250.
With the program Amazon is adding what it thinks is a more convenient option than traditional outside drop-off, while also coming up with one solution to package theft which is rampant in some markets.
The obvious questions are whether people will trust a delivery person to enter their home unattended. Amazon is trying to assuage these fears by alerting customers when a delivery is about to happen to allow them to watch it live via their phone.
This really isn't a big deal. They were delivering to the doorstep previously, and now they want to move the delivery by a couple of feet. There's almost no difference.
Also at The Verge.
Walmart is boosting minimum pay across all of its stores and handing out bonuses. The CEO says that it's thanks to tax reform:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is boosting its starting hourly wage to $11 and delivering bonuses to employees, capitalizing on the U.S. tax overhaul to stay competitive in a tightening labor market.
The increase takes effect next month and will cost $300 million on top of wage hikes that were already planned, the world's largest retailer said Thursday. The one-time bonus of up to $1,000 is based on seniority and will amount to an additional $400 million. The company is also expanding its maternity and parental leave policy and adding an adoption benefit.
"Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.
The move comes three years after Wal-Mart last announced it was raising wages, spending $1 billion in 2015 to lift starting hourly pay to $9 and then to $10 for most workers the following year. The increase cut into profit and was criticized by some longer-tenured employees as unfair to them. Since then, many states have enacted minimum wage laws, meaning that a "sizable group" of its 4,700 U.S. stores already pay $11 an hour, according to spokesman Kory Lundberg.
Walmart is expanding a "Scan & Go" program from 50 to 150 stores. "Scan & Go" would allow customers to use a smartphone app to scan items and then walk out of the store with them. Kroger is experimenting with a similar "Scan, Bag, Go" program. These are seen as a response to Amazon, which has been trialing delivery of fresh foods and same-day deliveries. Amazon revealed an "Amazon Go" concept brick-and-mortar store in 2016, with no cashiers in sight.
Maybe Walmart's big plan is to give better pay to a dwindling amount of employees.